What’s the Republican Alternative to Obamacare?

What’s the Republican Alternative to Obamacare?

You may have heard of the Five Stages of Grief, but have you heard of the Three Stages of Obamacare Acceptance? Are you or a family member suffering from Obamacare-related ailments? Are you grieving over the fact that Obamacare – just – isn’t – going – away? To refresh your memory, the five stages of grief are: denial (Let’s pretend Obamacare never passed!), anger (This will ruin the country!), bargaining (…Government shutdown), depression (Well, that was a mistake.), and finally acceptance (Meh.) If there isn’t a Republican alternative to Obamacare, then the default position is to ‘accept’ Obamacare. At that point, it’s easy to see the parallels between accepting Obamacare and the stages of grief. Sigh. Greg Sargent of The Washington Post goes over the three stages of acceptance:

  • Stage One: There might be some good elements in the law. …Not.
  • Stage Two: Obamacare is here. People are enrolled. It’s probably time to start “proposing alternatives or changes that purport to accomplish similar goals, even as the elimination or crippling of it remains a paramount aim.”
  • Stage Three: Abandon the idea of eliminating Obamacare in favor of working towards compromise on changes Republicans want.

While this last stage may seem like waving the white flag of surrender, it may be a way to achieve changes now while we wait for the Republican Party to win the White House and Congress in 2016. THEN we can finally erase all traces of Obamacare!

Until then, that monster of a healthcare bill is still here, and we can only complain so long before people start pointing fingers at us for alternative solutions.

“It’s no longer just a piece of paper that you can repeal and it goes away,” said Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin and a Tea Party favorite. “There’s something there. We have to recognize that reality. We have to deal with the people that are currently covered under Obamacare.” (NYT)

Here are some of the Republican solutions to Obamacare:

  • Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation suggested various proposals that the Republicans could offer: “allowing insurance sales across state lines so competition drives down prices” or tax deductions for those who don’t qualify for Obamacare subsidies.
  • “[Representative Tom Price (R-GA)] is pushing what he calls the Empowering Patients First Act, which would repeal the health care law but keep its prohibition on exclusions for pre-existing conditions in private health insurance.” (NYT)
  • Representative Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) are backing the Patients’ Choice Act:

As with the Obama health care law, the Ryan proposal demanded that insurers meet minimum standards of coverage and be prevented from excluding the sick. But instead of mandating penalties for failing to buy insurance, the approach would have automatically enrolled people unless they opted out. (NYT)

Whether or not these various approaches can be consolidated into an alternative solution to Obamacare is the question. Price was “cautiously optimistic” that pulling it all together into an Obamacare alternative might be possible and on the House floor during the 2014 elections.

“It’s the minority’s responsibility to provide a contrast,” [Price] said. “It’s important that we put forward an upbeat, positive proposal, so the American people know there is an alternative.” (NYT)

We can complain about Obamacare all we want, but there needs to be a Republican alternative to Obamacare before 2016.

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