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GOP to Submit An Alternative Healthcare Reform Bill

Posted on 03 Nov 2009

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Republicans are preparing an alternative health-care bill to Democratic legislation, House Republican Leader John Boehner said, marking a shift in strategy as the full House is set to begin debate on the issue this week.

In the GOP’s weekly address, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) criticized a bill proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as raising the cost of health insurance premiums, killing jobs with tax hikes and new mandates and cutting seniors' Medicare benefits.

“This 1,990 pages of bureaucracy will centralize health care decision-making in Washington, D.C.,” Boehner said in the address. “It’ll require thousands of new federal employees. It’ll put unelected boards, bureaus and commissions in charge of who gets access to what drug and what potentially life-saving treatment.”

He added, “Enough is enough. Breaking the bank and taking away the freedoms Americans cherish is not the answer to the challenges we face.”

Boehner also announced that House Republicans have submitted an alternative bill to the Congressional Budget Office for review comprised of the eight bills Republicans have offered over the last six months.

On CNN’s State of the Union, Boehner said he is “hopeful” that Pelosi will allow Republicans to offer an alternative on the House floor.

While the full text of the bill is expected later this week, Boehner said it emphasizes four “common sense” reforms “that will lower health care costs and expand access to quality care without a government takeover of our nation’s health care system that kills jobs, raises taxes on small businesses, or cuts Medicare for seniors.”

Those reforms include letting families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines; allowing individuals, small businesses and trade associations to pool together and acquire insurance at lower prices; giving states the tools to create their own reforms; and ending “junk lawsuits” that contribute to higher health care costs.

“And at the end of the day, what we’re doing with our proposal is lowering health care insurance premiums – lowering cost and expanding access,” Boehner said on CNN. “I would hope that the speaker would allow us to have a debate and a vote on our proposal.”

Boehner said that the GOP proposal would not include language outlawing denials by health insurers based on preexisting conditions. House Republican Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said the bill would also omit giving individuals tax credits to assist in the purchase of coverage as it is too costly, according to the Washington Post.