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The GOP health care pseudo-alternative

Breaking down the latest GOP health care proposal, there’s nothing new here.

Sorry Grover and your cohorts — putting out a bad series of ideas and then saying you are offering a solution is just not going to cut it.

The GOP is putting all of its eggs in the health care basket. Grover Norquist even weighed in recently, touting the Republican “alternative” to Obamacare that Grover says the Republicans have had out there all along. Here is the gist of it:

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a physician by trade, introduced House Resolution 2300, the Empowering Patients First Act, in June 2013, following previous iterations in 2009 and 2011.

Price’s bill entails the full repeal of Obamacare, permission of insurance sales across state lines, medical malpractice reform, tax deductions for health care expenses and a host of other laudable reforms that will reduce costs, increase access to care and allow consumers to buy the plans that are best for them.

This plan has been there for some time – and rejected on its face. The GOP is reupping their support because they think that the public will now want “anything” other than Obamacare.

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Let’s have at it one more time.

A. Selling insurance across state lines.

The problem here has always been the fact that the states have different criteria for defining the baseline for good health care coverage. One of the issues we have been having with this “keep your policy if you like it” is that these policies are junk. Mississippi could sell a policy in Minnesota that would have the cheapest premium in the state — but it is junk.

It should be noted that the ranking of states for the best health care in the country shows that 19 of the bottom 25 states have Republican governors. Three others have Democratic governors but the legislature is fully Republican. And the bottom five are:

50. Mississippi
49. Arkansas
48. Louisiana
47. Alabama
46. West Virginia

Look like a trend? Conversely the top 5 states are:

1. Hawaii
2. Vermont
3. Minnesota
4. Massachusetts
5. New Hampshire

More trends?

States are better at health care if they support health care. It is that simple.

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B. Medical Malpractice Reform

This can help on the margins, but there are so many other better ways to cut costs in health care; why is this the only one appears on the GOP radar? Because they hate the trial lawyers and want to protect health care conglomerates. They take a few extreme legal cases that have ridiculous aspects and try to taint the whole system. The truth is that without legal action, drug company domination of medicine costs and bad doctors would proliferate.

C. Tax Deduction for Health Care Expenses

Again, this can help on the margins, but people who are sick and need more care would go way beyond saving taxes — they would go bankrupt. Health savings accounts will help with average everyday savings, but again, it is a drop in the bucket. Sure, I’d like to see that 7% threshold disappear on medical expenses — but if you spend $3,000 a year on medical expenses and save $600 to $700 on taxes, you are still behind. The GOP tries to tell us that those HSA’s will somehow create a consumer market in health care — which would be possible only if you never have real sick people.

Sure, the GOP can figure ways to save taxes, but we need to cover more people. That is what why we developed the ACA in the first place. We have had too many uninsured or underinsured people escalating costs at emergency rooms and medical bankruptcies. Too many people getting dumped with pre-existing conditions. And too many people unemployed and left out of a system that is employer based.

The GOP has never solved health care, because they refuse to acknowledge the problem. It is like a habitual drunk figuring all he needs is a stiff drink to feel better.

Sorry Grover and your cohorts — putting out a bad series of ideas and then saying you are offering a solution is just not going to cut it.

If this is your alternative, please go back to the drawing board.

This post was written David Mindeman and originally published on mnpACT! Progressive Political Blog. Follow Dave on Twitter: @newtbuster.

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