The GOP is showing that is it possible to reform health care without fattening the federal bureaucracy. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a new GOP plan for health care reform would result in a net reduction of $68 in the federal deficit over the next decade. According to the New York Times, other highlights of the plan include:
House Republicans have come up with an answer to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, drafting an alternative health care bill that would reward states for reducing the number of uninsured, limit damages in medical malpractice lawsuits and allow small businesses to band together and buy insurance exempt from most state regulation.
The Republican bill differs from the Democratic measure in that it would not require people to obtain insurance or require employers to offer it. It is almost surely cheaper than the House Democrats’ bill because, unlike that proposal, it would not expand Medicaid or offer federal subsidies to low- and middle-income people to help them buy insurance. Nor would the Republican bill impose new taxes.
The bill would offer $50 billion in federal “incentive payments” over the next 10 years to states that reduce the cost of health insurance or the proportion of their residents who are uninsured.
The bill would also make it easier for insurers to sell insurance across state lines. Policies would be subject to laws in a company’s home state, but would be exempt from many of the consumer protection laws, rating rules and benefit mandates in other states where the company sold coverage.
Republicans would also allow small businesses to pool their insurance buying power through “association health plans,” sponsored by trade and professional associations and chambers of commerce. These plans would have “sole discretion” over what services to cover.