The Republican Alternative For Health Care Reform
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak about the Democratic plan that will encompass 2,000-plus pages, 400,000 words, more than $1.3 trillion in costs, over $800 billion in tax increases, and the likelihood that it will kill more than 5 million jobs. Today, I would like to talk about the Republican alternative that will be offered when this legislation comes up for a vote, and I would like to contrast it with what we are talking about.
The Republican alternative lowers health care premiums. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the alternative would reduce health insurance premiums by up to 10 percent for employees who get coverage through small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. According to the CBO estimates, all told, under the GOP plan, premiums for millions of families would be nearly $5,000 lower than Speaker Pelosi's cheapest insurance plan.
It guarantees affordable coverage for patients with preexisting conditions. The Republican alternative makes it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition. So, if you lose your health insurance because you lose your job, because you move or get divorced or just want to change plans, you are protected.
It protects seniors' Medicare benefits. Under the plan offered by Speaker Pelosi, there are more than $500 billion in cuts in the Medicare program at a time when baby boomers--those born after World War II--are starting to retire. We're going to need to have reforms of the Medicare program to achieve savings, but those savings are going to have to be plowed back into the Medicare program to pay for the millions of Americans who are going to become eligible for that program.
The Republican alternative has no tax increases, none, nada, zip, period, no tax increases compared to more than $800 billion in tax increases primarily focused on small businesses.
In fact, the Republican alternative encourages small businesses to offer health care coverage without taxing job creation. Unlike Speaker Pelosi's bill, which punishes small businesses with onerous mandates and exorbitant taxes that the CBO says will be passed on to the employees in the form of lower wages, the Republican alternative plan gives small businesses the power to pool together and offer health care at lower prices just as corporations and labor unions do.
It enacts real medical liability reform to cut down on the amount of defensive medicine, and the Congressional Budget Office says it will save the Medicare and Medicaid programs $54 billion alone, much less additional savings that will come to private insurance companies and hospitals and doctors in terms of the reduction in defensive medicine that will be practiced. It prohibits abortion funding, a serious problem in the Democratic alternative that has caused a great deal of turmoil on their side of the aisle.
There's no entitlement expansions, forcing Americans on to a government-run plan, and it reduces the deficit. According to the CBO, the Republican alternative reduces the deficit by $68 billion over the next 10 years and continues to reduce the deficit in the second budget window.
Compare this to the plan offered by Speaker Pelosi, which will raise premiums on health insurance for individuals. It will reduce health care choices. It will cause delays and denials of care. It will take $500 billion in Medicare cuts and $729.5 billion in new taxes.
Now, this new bill that has been offered by the Democrats is 2,000 pages long. You may recall that the last bill offered by them was only a thousand pages long and had 53 new government agencies and programs. In fact, many may be familiar with this diagram that shows what additional new programs were created under the 1,000 page bill. You might think this is pretty confusing and would cause a lot of difficulty for a lot of people. Well, guess what?
With a 2,000-page bill they added another more than 90 new programs and agencies to the 53 that are on the original chart. Here is the original chart. This is all of the bureaucracy and confusion and cost that has been added in this new bill. If anyone on either side of the aisle has any doubt about whether the simple proposals offered by the Republican alternative have broad-based public support, most of these proposals, 60, 70, 80 percent of the American people support. Certainly they do not support this kind of bureaucracy. Certainly they do not support the kinds of tax increases that could cost as many as 5.5 million jobs, according to one projection out today. And they certainly do not support this kind of government takeover of our American health care system.