The Real Republican Health Care Proposal

medicine.jpgWhile in many cases it has fallen on deaf ears, we’ve made efforts in the past to clear up some of the misinformation being handed out by proponents of Democratic health insurance reform proposals around the web, including here at TMV. I was mentally adding a few check points to that list today while reading Rick Moran’s latest column at Pajamas Media, “Take Health Insurance, Please!” One of the non-technical but completely valid points is this continual complaint I hear about how the Republicans won’t “be reasonable” and compromise to work with Democrats on health care. Of course, what most proponents don’t want to talk about is the fact that if you are only offered choices which run completely against every basic tenet of fiscal conservatism and individual responsibility, that’s really not much of a choice at all.

Democrats informed the GOP that health care reform would include a public option and other “no go” provisions that are an anathema to the founding principles of the party and conservatism. And the Democrats expected … what? That the GOP would embrace that reform, betray its principles, and shatter the party just to give Democrats cover with the voting public who will probably not like this “stealth single-payer” idea?

But it is a mystery why Democrats can’t see that voting for a bill with a public option (or it’s weak sister, health care insurance co-ops) would doom the Republicans with most of the rest of their party and enrage their base. Of course, they wouldn’t see that as quite the calamity the objects of their scorn would view the matter. But the hypocrisy is getting pretty thick when the Democrats bitch about the GOP refusing, in effect, to walk the plank because they can’t swim.

This, however, isn’t the major piece of disinformation that I want to address today. Here’s one of the big complaints about the GOP which I myself addressed last spring: “The Republicans complain about the Democrats’ health care proposals, but they don’t offer any plan of their own!” I’ve seen that one here over and over again, as recently as this week. However, shortly after I sat wondering where the GOP proposal was, it was delivered without my even knowing it. (Thanks, media!)

In fact, I only found out about the final version earlier this week on Rick’s radio show and had to go look it up online. Sure enough, there it was. Rather than the 19 page summary so many of us saw and scoffed at, Rep. Paul Ryan introduced H.R. 2520, The Patient’s Choice Act, on May 20 of this year. It was immediately referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, along with two others, where it languishes to this day.

There are quite a few reasons for that, not least of which is the fact that it was developed and introduced by Republicans, but because it also includes some common sense proposals which are essentially anathema to Democrats and liberals in general. You can read the entire bill here yourself. Coming in at less than 300 pages, in the rare instance that a member of Congress actually chooses to read a bill, it will at least take less time than the 1,000+ pages of the various Democratic versions.

What’s included? First, Title 1 is based entirely on a concept which most Democrats seem to back… focusing on incentives for preventative medicine and healthier lifestyles. Title 2 deals with one of the great problems in health insurance, allowing for state based health care exchanges and federal incentives for multiple states to band together, crossing state lines, to offer more choices. And the state based exchanges would be charged with providing group rates to people across a multitude of circumstances to reduce rates.

Title 4 provides for supplemental health care assistance to low income families, along with both tax credits and advancement vouchers so they can purchase health insurance through these group plans. Limits are also placed on excessive premium charges by private insurance companies.

Why won’t this ever see the light of day? (That is, aside from the fact that the GOP suggested it.) Among other reasons, because Titles 4 and 5 also include fiscally responsible proposals which too many Democrats despise. First, they mandate means testing for the direct government assistance in the form of grants and advancements which would cover every American citizen who can truly not afford health insurance. Why this is such an abomination to my liberal colleagues I will never understand. Also, Title 6 has a provision to encourage the reform and limitation of frivolous lawsuits which, along with other waste and abuse, drives up costs across the board.

That last one is apparently a real deal breaker for most Democrats, who rely on a group mentality where everyone will eventually slip and fall on the sidewalk of a rich person and hit the lottery. None of these, of course, will come to an open vote and likely never even be read by the public. But you should know that one of the biggest lies being foisted off on you by supporters of Obamacare is that Republicans are unwilling to get involved in a better solution. They already have. But nobody is listening or talking about it, either in the majority or the lion’s share of the media.