Republicans Take a Stab at Drafting Universal Health Plan

May 20, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Republicans in Congress unveiled their version of health care reform, entitled, “The Patients’ Choice Act of 2009,” which is similar to the plan that Senator John McCain was promoting during the presidential campaign, but differs in several important respects.

The universal health care plan was unveiled by Senators Tom Coburn and Richard Burr and Representatives Paul Ryan and Devin Nunes, which promotes a “guaranteed choice of coverage” through a risk pool of private insurers called State Health Insurance Exchanges.

The new and improved Patients’ Choice Act does away with reliance on the private sector the way it functions now, which is what McCain was advocating in the past. Instead, the new plan calls for a large risk pool of federal-state partnerships that guarantee coverage to individuals regardless of their medical history.

The lawmakers refer to the risk pool as a “one-stop marketplace” with the option open to stay with an individual or employer provided plan. In other words, the plan has no mandates forcing individuals to purchase coverage, like the plan in the State of Massachusetts.

The plan ends tax breaks to employers for providing coverage to its employees, instead providing individuals with tax cuts of $5,710 for families and $2,290 for individuals to help pay for health insurance premiums. The problem with this part of the plan is that yearly premiums are double the amount of the tax cut amounts.

Families are paying on average, $12,300 a year for health insurance. Some families will be hard pressed to come up with the remainder of the cash needed to purchase a yearly premium during a recession, when people are struggling just to pay the mortgage and buy groceries.

The plan proposes a type of regulatory board to penalize insurers that cherry-pick and refuse to provide coverage to sicker and older individuals.

Critics of the plan contend it will result in costing both employers and individuals more money, at a time when people can least afford it. The plan also calls for taxing health care benefits to pay for the plan, which will not be a popular measure.

The Republican plan offers no role for the federal government in providing health insurance, which is an important component of the Democrats’ plan.

Democrats criticized the plan as more of the same, tired Republican health care plan that was promoted by John McCain, which Americans rejected at the polls during the presidential election when they voted President Obama in office.

For the first time though, Republicans are finally abandoning the private health care market, conceding it no longer works for the vast majority of Americans.



6 Responses to “Republicans Take a Stab at Drafting Universal Health Plan”

  1. Old Man Dotes on May 20th, 2009 7:48 pm

    Hey, it’s the perfect plan for wealthy old White men. Let the poor people die in the streets, there’s lots more to replace them, after all! /sarcasm

    There’s nothing viable about this plan, unless it’s deliberately designed to incite armed insurrection. It’s definitely guaranteed to lose votes for the GOP!

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  4. Norris Hall on May 21st, 2009 1:12 am

    Those who think that Obama’s government run health care system will be the ultimate cure all for the United States should read the results of this poll comparing patient responses to the heath care system in 5 western industrialized countries: New Zealand, US., Canada, Australia

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    If you are uninsured and does not have insurance, you should check out the website – John Mayer, California

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