WASHINGTON — The Republican Study Committee congressional caucus led by U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, unveiled Wednesday its legislation that is touted as a “market-based alternative to Obamacare.”
The legislation comes at a time when Congress is mired in a budget stalemate that some GOP members, including many in the Republican Study Committee, are using to attempt to force the defunding of the Affordable Care Act.
With President Barack Obama and Democrats refusing to back down on the president’s signature law, a partial government shutdown is possible at the end of the month if Republicans draw a line in the sand.
The new “American Health Care Reform Act” proposed by Scalise, Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden, and others allows Republicans to contend they have a better plan than “Obamacare” and that they are not only working as obstructionists. “This bill is a true alternative to Obamacare,” Scalise said.
The bill starts off by completely repealing the Affordable Care Act. “This is something that gives us a clean slate so we can lay a new foundation,” he said.
Some of the bill’s highlights, according to Scalise, include allowing individuals to “shop across state lines” for health care coverage. The bill also lets small businesses “pool together” to get better deals in the private market and to let individuals deduct the costs of their insurance on their taxes if they find better deals outside of their employers.
The legislation increases access to health savings accounts, Scalise said.
Additionally, the plan tackles hot-button issues by seeking to address “medical malpractice reform” and “frivolous lawsuits.” The proposal also bans the use of federal dollars for abortions.
On the topic of guaranteeing insurance access for people with pre-existing conditions, the Republican Study Committee plan tackles the issue by investing $25 billion in state-created pools for high-risk individuals and families.
“There’s no way to fix Obamacare because Obamacare is based on government making all the decisions,” Fleming added. “We can’t graft something that’s market-based and patient-centered on top of a giant bureaucratic structure.”