June 16th, 2009
02:26 PM ET
9 years ago

GOP lawmakers offer 'practical' health reform plan

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A group of congressional Republicans offered what they call a "centrist, practical" plan to overhaul the U.S. health care system Tuesday, one they say would be the cheapest of any option proposed so far.

Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk said the package put together by moderate Republicans in the House of Representatives would be far cheaper than a plan being drawn up in the Senate. A preliminary review of that plan by the Congressional Budget Office found it would cost about $1 trillion over 10 years to extend health insurance to 16 million people who otherwise would not be covered - about a third of the roughly 45 million now uninsured.

"I think this plan that we put forward is more centrist, more bipartisan and would be at significantly lower cost," Kirk said. He said no cost estimate had been prepared for the measures he put forth Tuesday, but asserted its elements would require less money from taxpayers than other proposals.

The package announced by the GOP "Tuesday Group" includes some perennial Republican favorites such as regulatory relief, an individual tax break for purchasing health insurance, and limits on malpractice lawsuits. It also would encourage insurers to pool their coverage to a greater extent than currently allowed, which Kirk and other supporters say has worked well in California.

But it also emphasizes preventive care, computerizing patient records and reducing "defensive medicine" by promoting treatments proven effective - all principles the White House has endorsed as well.

The centerpiece of the plan, Kirk said, is a "Medical Rights Act" that would keep government out of "decisions made by you and your doctor." He said the plans were drawn up during four months of talks with dozens of groups, including patient advocates, doctors, nurses, employers and "other interested groups."

The proposal came as the conservative GOP leadership in the House stepped up attacks on the proposal being drafted by Senate Democrats. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Monday's budget office report showed "millions of Americans" would lose their current insurance.

"President Obama says the problem with our health care is that we spend too much, and if you look at all the proposals, clearly they are going to spend trillions of dollars of additional money that we don't have - that we going to have to borrow - in order to finance their scheme," Boehner told reporters.

The report projected that the number of people covered by employer-based health-care plans would fall by about 15 million by 2017. In the same year, about 39 million people would be covered by policies purchased through a health insurance "exchange" of the type Obama has proposed.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Tuesday that a bill is still being drafted and "has many twists and turns to go."

"One incomplete older proposal I don't think is indicative of where we are now," he said.

Filed under: Health care • Mark Kirk
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. blair

    montag reread the article before you try to comment. The 2/3 remaining uninsured is the CBO's estimate of Obama's plan! 1 trillion to insure 16 million people... that is a hefty price tag!

    June 16, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. I am The Great and Powerful Wizard of Rush

    "Moderate Republicans"?

    They don't exist anymore.

    June 16, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Marc

    Sniffit – You hit the nail right on the spot!
    It is a plan, but a 'practical' has numbers in it, not just vague offerings that in the end WON'T really solve the basic problems of the health system, we need numbers folks. Numbers to check and verify and comment, not just 'we will...', 'we may...' and 'we'll try to...'.
    Numbers please. And WITHOUT trying to UNCONSTITUCIONALLY delimitate the rights of a jury.

    June 16, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. gl, From Pittsburgh

    an individual tax break "…….I see the Repubicans still looking out for their rich friends. These health plan is not to give the rich a tax break.

    June 16, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Shonie

    "What Bonehead Boehner fails to mention is that the President has said that if you are satisfied with your employer's insurance, you can keep it. He's making it sound as if a government run option will completely replace private insurance when that clearly isn't true."

    Except there's a proposal to tax health plan deductions. Now let me ask you, if you are going to get taxed for your health plan or go the public option..what do you think most people are gonna do? While it may not be a blatant takeover, they are certainly making it really impossible to stay away from government healthcare.

    June 16, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. LacrosseMom

    Practical??? Are they kidding? The GOP is always against any program that will help the American people!

    The GOP was against.......

    Social Security
    Unemployment benefits
    Unions of any kind
    Minimum wage


    June 16, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Foo

    If they don't have estimates how do they kno wits lower cost? They just don't cover everyone. Thats how. Sure seems paractial to me a a reasonably well off employed married white guy w/ kids/

    June 16, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. Courtney Flournoy

    GOP you have dug yourself a grave!! I think the American people are sick of tired of your dinosaur age policies!!! Do us all a favor and support President Obama... If you can't beat him.. join him!!!

    June 16, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. Melissa

    You have to spend money to make money. Everything requires an initial investment. Thats the way the economy works.

    As for the Republican idea... what I see is "tax breaks tax breaks tax breaks. Lets keep everything exactly the same except give protection from lawsuits for doctors". Again. You people are like a broken record.

    Nothing to offer.

    June 16, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Mark in Miami

    Much better plan than Obamas, which will bankrupt us and our kids, grand kids, and great grand kids.

    June 16, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. RealityKing

    ABC News will host an free hour-long special on health care reform from the White House East Room - in which President Obama will answer questions presented by audience members selected by ABC News.

    A move ABC defends as NOT being biased towards the Obama administration's effort to control the healthcare debate.(eyes rolling)

    June 16, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Melissa

    The gvt is NOT going to come between you and your doctor, sorry. It doesn't do that in any socialist form of health care in the world.

    Its always nice when Republicans just invent things to suit their needs even when they don't have a basis in reality. NOT.

    June 16, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. J

    I am surprised they are still trying to sell the same old bag of lies... The government is going to kill you if you let them manage health care. Ya health care is impossible, but let us look in your bags and your email and we can keep you safe? There is this thing called a middle ground, health care and national security can both live there if we just give things a chance.

    June 16, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Melissa

    Health care, that you need to live is NOT the same as insurance for your car, people. Your car is optional. Living isn't.

    June 16, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield – "Did someone say tax break?"

    June 16, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. HJA

    You want to reform health care? First step is get rid of the insurance companies, start a system that is nonprofit. BCBS used to say (many years ago) they were nonprofit. Not any more. Insurance is like gambling. They are betting you won't need it. When you do they try to limit their losses (deny benefits) to maintain profit. To profit on providing health care is criminal. We are #72 as far as being healthy, #37 as far as quality of care and #1 as far as costs. You can't control health care costs when insurance companies only care about profit.

    June 16, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. Florida Joe

    Practical.....I see....no idea as to what it costs but he knows it would be lower.........Once again the Repubs no ideas, no plans and tax cuts for the rich!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 16, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. George

    Typical CHEAP republican junk. No taxes. Don't share at all you republicans. You are as disgusting as the people who represent you.

    June 16, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. mel

    An issue that I have not heard addressed regarding cost: All insurance companies are "for profit" and results in higher cost premiums to consumers. Any government plan, I'm assuming, would not be "for profit" and result in lower costs. Why has this not been pointed out? AND wouldn't a lower cost government plan force the private insurance companies to become more competetive in price and benefits?

    June 16, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. Pragmatic

    " one they say would be the cheapest of any option proposed so far. ..."

    Cheap, cheap cheap ... from congress critters who never, ever have to worry about their health care costs: all at taxpayer's expense – but just say "no" to the rest of us ... can't waste tax money on real Americans!

    The GOP had 8 years to implement their version of health care reform ... couldn't be bothered ... now they have a "better idea?" I don't think so!

    June 16, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. Proud Member..Party of No

    Der Fuhrer Obama will not tolerate any plan other than his own.

    The race is on......will we be able to elect a competent president in 2012 before Obama completely ruins the country or will it be too late.

    June 16, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  22. Chuck, Tennessee

    Montag, it is YOU who does not understand. It is the democrats' plan that will cover only 1/3 of the currently uninsured and will cost $1 trillion over 10 years. Get your facts staright!

    June 16, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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