Thursday, December 17, 2009

One Republican's Health "Plan"

I promised that I would let you know what responses I got to my Email to my two Republican Senators in my last post about the Republican health care "plan." In my Email, I asked for the nuts and bolts of their plan, requesting that they not respond with boiler plate.

I've gotten one response so far, from Sen. Saxby Chambliss: more boilerplate than I wanted and not much in the way of nuts and bolts. Here are some representative quotes, I don't think I've cherry picked to make him look bad.

"Rather than attempting to overhaul our entire health care system, we should be focused on incremental reform to improve the areas with the greatest need.... [none of which are identified]

"I am an original cosponsor of S. 1099, the "Patients' Choice Act," which was introduced on May 20, 2009…. S. 1099 would put individuals back in charge of their own health care by giving them a tax rebate, worth $2,300 for individuals and $5,700 for families, to be used for the purchase of health insurance…. Individuals who are most vulnerable of being turned down due to preexisting conditions could not be denied coverage due to age or health....[got to give him some credit for wanting to get rid of preexisting conditions]

"I also believe that a health care bill should address tort reform….

"During the health care reform debate, I will monitor the initiatives with the view that health care reform should focus on keeping health decisions between doctors and patients, empowering and entrusting individuals with their health care savings and decisions, and promoting competition in all areas of health care. Americans are right to demand access to affordable health care. We will move closer to this goal as we see more promotion of the same innovation and competition in health care that we see in every other American industry."

So, Sen. Chambliss wants to give a tax rebate to those buying a health insurance policy. I would note that he doesn't talk about a credit, which you get regardless of whether you pay taxes. You can't get a rebate if you don't pay taxes. Chances are if your income is low enough that you don't pay taxes, you don't have a spare few thousand laying around to buy health insurance. So much for the very poor and the working poor.

Tort reform is the only other concrete part of Sen. Chambliss' plan. Have at it - Public Citizen reports that total payments for malpractice judgments were about $226 million in 2004. To be flippant, any dollar amount that doesn't start with a "B" these days isn't significant in the context of national policy.

You'll note that the last of the quotes has Sen. Chambliss focusing on "keeping health decisions between doctors and patients, empowering…individuals…and promoting competition." No specifics and nothing about insurance company influence on health care decisions and their de-powering of individuals. Nothing about how he's going to promote competition.

So much for the Republican alternative, at least from one source.


Wes said...

(Hmm, what's this? "Can of Worms" and a can opener. What's the worst that could happen?)

keeping health decisions between doctors and patients

How come that never applies to womens' health and issues of choice in pregnancy where the GOP (and to be fair, a large number of Dems) is concerned?

("Pandora, where did you put that lid?")

Lifehiker said...

Why is it that the average educated citizen thinks much more clearly about these big issues than the jerks we elect?

I'd rather we had a lottery to fill congressional positions. Anyone with a masters degree or better and five or ten years of management or professional experience is qualified to be in the pool. Congress would be 100% more effective!

Posol'stvo the Medved said...

Lifehiker -- I love your proposal, primarily because according to your criteria, I would be exempt. No Masters degree. YAY!

j said...

Dave - what was the response to your request for the "nuts and bolts" of the democrats house or senate bill?

Dave said...

I just Googled it J. Start with the House 1,900 page bill that no one in the GOP likes. Go over to the Senate. Various versions of a government option. Insurance companies allowed to sell in all states. Taxes on "Cadillac" plans. The same silliness as the GOP on tort reform. Getting rid of pre-condition denial. The list goes on.

I'm not saying I like all of what I see; but, I see little to like or dislike on the GOP side.

Anonymous said...

I understand that the dems are in control and they don't have to listen to the GOP but at least they should admit that the GOP has been asking to be involved. When you are not allowed to participate in the process it looks like everything you do is being obstructionist. A senate bill that only a handfull of democratic senators had even seen outside of Reid's office is a travesty. What about the transparency we were promised.

By the way why did you google the dems plan? My guess is that if you asked the bulk of the dem senators they wouldn't have been able to give you any more details than you got from our GA contingent.