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Sounds A Lot Like Obamacare

January 20, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

The Republican House majority yesterday passed a bill to repeal health care reform (H.R.2) and today passed a resolution calling on four House committees to draft legislation to replace it (H.Res.9). As I’ve been explaining on this blog, the whole repeal effort is purely political. It’s not a serious effort by the Republicans at fixing the problems they see in the health care law, and the resolution they passed today just underscores that fact.

The resolution spells out 12 principles for what should be in the replacement bill, many of which are features of the law they voted to repeal.

(1) foster economic growth and private sector job creation by eliminating job-killing policies and regulations;

(2) lower health care premiums through increased competition and choice;

(3) preserve a patient’s ability to keep his or her health plan if he or she likes it;

(4) provide people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage;

(5) reform the medical liability system to reduce unnecessary and wasteful health care spending;

(6) increase the number of insured Americans;

(7) protect the doctor-patient relationship;

(8) provide the States greater flexibility to administer Medicaid programs;

(9) expand incentives to encourage personal responsibility for health care coverage and costs;

(10) prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions and provide conscience protections for health care providers;

(11) eliminate duplicative government programs and wasteful spending; or

(12) do not accelerate the insolvency of entitlement programs or increase the tax burden on Americans.

Most of this is already in the law. Increasing competition, increasing the number of insured Americans, making sure customers can keep their current insurance plans, covering pre-existing conditions, incentives for maintaining coverage, blocking federal funds for abortions. It’s all in the law already.

Now, there is stuff in here that I think is actual beef for the Republicans, like reforming the medical liability system, eliminating duplicative programs and reducing the burden on small businesses. But that’s perfect stuff for the Republican House and Democratic Senate to work out together over the next two years. I know these are policy priorities that are traditionally associated more with the Republican brand, but it’s all stuff that a lot of Democrats can get behind too if somehow both sides can agree to an honest discussion and process. Some of this can be agreed on and some of it probably can’t, but the way the Republicans are structuring their health care efforts this session is probably going to mean that none of it will even really get talked about.

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