GOP health care ‘plan’ won’t go away

GOP HEALTH CARE ‘PLAN’ WON’T GO AWAY…. Way back in November, House Republicans unveiled their health care reform “plan,” to serve as an alternative to the Democratic proposal. The GOP proposal was fairly pathetic, and even some Republicans wanted nothing to do with it.

And yet, seven months later, it’s back. Christina Bellantoni reported yesterday:

Just in time for the midterm elections, the Republicans introduced legislation to scrap “Obama care” — even parts that voters like — and sub in their own version.

As a refresher, their plan would let people buy insurance across state lines, give states more power and would include tort reform to end so-called “junk lawsuits” that the Republicans say make health care costs more expensive. The CBO score last fall found the GOP plan would cover just 3 million more people “leaving about 52 million” without insurance at about the same as the 2009 share of uninsured people. It would reduce premiums by between zero and three percent, CBO said…. It reduces the deficit over time, but so does the Democrats’ law.

The GOP plan is now its own bill (H.R. 5424), and though Congress is on recess, it already has 30 co-sponsors.

I’m not entirely sure why Republicans are bothering. Presumably, GOP candidates want to be able to campaign this fall, saying, “We’re not the ‘party of no’; we even produced our own alternative health care bill!”

And while there will be some truth to that, let’s not forget, as a substantive matter, the GOP plan was nothing short of laughable — it largely ignores the uninsured, does nothing for those with pre-existing conditions, and offers nothing for those worried about losing coverage when it’s needed most. While the Democratic proposal was put together out in the open, with Republican ideas, and subjected to months of public hearings in five separate congressional committees, the GOP plan was an entirely partisan proposal, written in secret. The Republican approach to reform sought to create a system that “works better for people who don’t need health care services, and much worse for people who actually are sick or who become sick in the future. It’s basically a health un-insurance policy.” And as we learned last year, the plan included provisions that “mirror the suggestions put forth by the lobbying entity of the private insurance industry way back in December 2008.”

That Republican lawmakers now want to re-introduce the same package, apparently as some kind of election-year stunt, suggests the party is convinced that voters are fools.