Republicans, long criticized for pushing for the elimination of the health care reform law without a way to replace it, have come up with their own plan.
Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., an orthopedic surgeon, has authored a 247-page bill, entitled the “Empowering Patients First Act.”
The bill is one-tenth the size of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, which infamously clocked in at 2,300 pages. The Price bill does not create health care exchanges or call for the massive expansion of Medicaid in the president’s law.
The first section of the bill, in fact, repeals the entirety of Obamacare.
It offers in its place refundable tax credits of up to $5,000 for low-income individuals and families to purchase health insurance on the private market. And those who buy health insurance privately rather than through their employment, would be able to deduct the among on their taxes, which they are currently unable to do.
Other provision in the bill include allowing insurance companies to sell policies across state lines, which some believe will lower costs by increasing competitiveness. The legislation also aims to reform the medical malpractice industry, which has dramatically raised insurance costs for doctors, by creating health care tribunals to review malpractice cases and make recommendations about liability and compensation.
Price, who is a leading House conservative, said the bill, “returns health care decisions to patients, families and doctors, so that they, not government, can make choices rooted in compassion and common sense.”
Democrats suggested Price is wasting his time attempting to pass his bill. The House has already voted 37 times to repeal the health care law, but the legislation has been ignored by the Democratically run Senate and Obama.
“As Speaker Boehner has said, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land,” Drew Hammill, a top aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, told the Examiner. “The American people want solutions from their representatives in Congress not more silliness. It’s time to drop the partisan games and focus on economic growth and jobs for the middle class.”
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has not yet responded to a request about whether he plans to take up the price bill.