The GOP’s Next Strategy to Fight Obamacare
The repeal or defund caucus readies for another go, but the replace caucus has ammo for their strategy moving forward.
October 24, 2013 - 12:02 am
Alexander suggested one way to end Obamacare – “elect more Republicans.”
“The best way to do it is to take over the government,” Alexander said. “Elect some more senators. Elect a president. Put in a bill. That’s our constitutional system.”
Unlike either Cruz or McConnell, Alexander, the ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has a plan for replacing Obamacare. It includes providing governors with more flexibility in operating state Medicaid programs, strengthening workplace wellness programs, permitting small businesses to pool their resources and offer lower-cost insurance plans for employees, expanding opportunities for consumers to purchase insurance across state lines and providing greater access to health savings accounts.
Alexander said his plan offers “step-by-step reforms that would reduce the costs of healthcare.”
Alexander isn’t alone in advocating for a process known as “repeal and replace.” The House Republican Study Committee, a conservative group within the GOP caucus, also has offered an Obamacare alternative that it intends to continue pursuing.
“American families and businesses deserve and demand real solutions to the serious problems that exist in our healthcare system,” said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the committee chairman. “The RSC’s American Health Care Reform Act is a common-sense bill that will lower costs using conservative, free-market solutions which give American families more choices without the unworkable mandates and billions in taxes included in President Obama’s healthcare law.”
The 200-page bill offers $20,000 in tax deductions to families and a $7,500 deduction to individuals to purchase insurance from vendors in any state — thus, supporters say, allowing people to save money by selecting lower-cost providers.
The measure also offers altered proposals to some of the more popular aspects of Obamacare – creation of a $25 billion fund to lower costs for those afflicted with pre-existing conditions, permitting people to carry their insurance from job to job and permitting coverage for adult children up to age 26.
“By allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines and pool together so small businesses and families can get the same buying power as large corporations, we can lower costs and increase choices while removing Washington bureaucrats from your healthcare decisions,” Scalise said.
But no one seems to have developed a strategy of repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a package of free market alternatives more to the liking of conservative lawmakers. Regardless, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee and 2012 Republican nominee for vice president, urged that the fight go forward.
“The way I see it, our job is to preserve our values in the 21st century,” Ryan said during an appearance at the recent Values Voters Summit in Washington DC.
“We need to completely rethink government’s role in healthcare,” he said. “That means we can never give up on repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
In an op-ed that originally appeared in USA Today, Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), a family physician for more than 30 years before entering Congress, insisted that “Obamacare is just the latest bad law needing repeal.”
“That’s why we fought Obamacare through this difficult debate, and that’s why this is just one round and why we must continue to fight on,” he said.