Republican presidential candidate Walker unveils health plan

Reuters News
|
Posted: Aug 18, 2015 10:08 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Scott Walker on Tuesday unveiled a new healthcare proposal that, like those floated by other conservative presidential candidates, calls for repealing Obamacare, which the Wisconsin governor wants to replace with tax credits and other changes.

In an outline of the plan released on his website, Walker said he would give greater control over health care to U.S. states by allowing consumers to buy health insurance across state lines and overhauling Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor.

Walker also said he would offer incentives for states to curb what he called "excessive litigation" that hampers the practice of medicine and loosen restrictions on health savings accounts.

He is set to unveil his plan in a speech in Minnesota later on Tuesday.

"On my first day as president, I will send legislation to the Congress that will repeal Obamacare entirely and replace it in a way that puts patients and their families back in charge of their health care – not the federal government," Walker said in excerpts from the speech released late on Monday.

Republicans have long vowed to repeal President Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare overhaul, commonly known as Obamacare. While most of the 17 Republican presidential candidates have echoed that pledge, few have offered detailed alternative plans.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who is also vying to be the Republican presidential nominee in the November 2016 general election, previously called for changes to the U.S. healthcare system.

In an opinion piece on Politico late on Monday, Rubio also called for tax credits for Americans who buy health insurance on their own, allowing people to buy coverage across state lines, and overhauling insurance regulations.

"Instead of relying on an outdated, big-government approach, I will utilize modern, consumer-centered reforms that lower costs, embrace innovation in healthcare and actually increase choices and improve quality of care," he wrote.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal last year laid out a set of healthcare policy ideas aimed at offering a Republican alternative to the 2010 law by allowing people to buy insurance in other states and offering tax deductions to offset the cost of health insurance.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Paul Simao)