The GOP and conservatives appear to be shifting opposition strategies as Democrats press forward with reform efforts (The House is scheduled to debate its almost 2,000 page overhaul bill this week.)
The GOP is reportedly set to release a new alternative to the House bill. Minority Leader John Boehner said on Sunday: “What we do is we try to make the current system work better.”
Boehner delivered the Saturday Republican video address, and Sarah Palin plugged it on her popular Facebook page, calling it a “game changer”. According to Hot Air’s Allah Pundit, it was an unusual endorsement from Palin, who has been critical of party leaders.
A bill has not been released yet, but the GOP’s congressional website says it will be offered during floor debate this week. According to the post, the bill emphasizes:
- “Number one: let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines.
- Number two: allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do.
- Number three: give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs.
- Number four: end junk lawsuits that contribute to higher health care costs by increasing the number of tests and procedures that physicians sometimes order not because they think it’s good medicine, but because they are afraid of being sued.”
Time’s Karen Tumulty reacted, “But when you look at what the House Minority Leader is describing as an “innovative” solution, you’ve got to wonder. Specifically, he points to the kind of high-risk pools that many states have established for those who find themselves uninsurable as a result of a serious illness. That is not a new idea–some states have had these pools for three decades–or a solution for many. These pools already exist in more than 30 states, but they tend to be too expensive for those with limited means to buy into. And often, people cannot get into them for as long as a year after they apply.”
Elsewhere, conservative bloggers are latching onto a new opposition meme: Democratic lawmakers used “budget gimmicks” in order to receive specific cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.
James Capretta writes on Critical Condition, “In sum, then, the House plan is not a $900 billion program. It’s a $725 billion tax increase and a $1.5 trillion spending program. Tax and spend, indeed.”
And Dennis Smith of Heritage thinks the Finance Committee bill suffers from a similar affliction: “In the desperate attempt to portray their massive new spending bill as ‘budget neutral,’ Congress and the Obama Administration are relying on more desperate measures to hide the true cost of the legislation.” Smith points to a specific provision that states the Secretary of Health and Human Services can reduce subsidies or credits should the bill increase the federal deficit.