Senate Republicans Introduce Obamacare Alternative

Posted: Jan 27, 2014 3:40 PM

President Obama's repeated claim that Republicans do not have a health care plan has never been true (you can read the House Republican Study Committee plan here), and today three Republican senators have challenged Obama again, this time by offering their own new proposal.

Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have introduced a plan that would repeal Obamacare and offer all Americans real affordable health care coverage. No individual mandate. No employer mandate. No debacle.

Instead, the heart of Senate Republican proposal would offer targeted tax credits to individuals with incomes between 100 percent and 300 percent of poverty who do not work at large employers that offer health care plans. In addition to being means tested by income, the credit would also be tied to age, with older Americans receiving a more generous credit.

The Senate Republican plan would also limit health care spending by transitioning to a capped allotment for Medicaid funds and by limiting the amount of health insurance premiums employer's can exclude from taxes.

Somewhat worrying, however, the legislation would also allow, but not require, states to auto-enroll uninsured Americans in default health insurance plans. But, states could, if they wanted, create default enrollment options with premiums equal to the value of their tax credit. That way, no individual would be charged an additional premium. The Senate Republican plan would also allow all Americans to opt out of buying health insurance if they did not want to buy the product.

No legislative language is available for examination yet, and it is doubtful any Senate committee will move on the bill, so no official Congressional Budget Office score is likely soon. But the outlines of the plan show that it would cost far far less than Obamacare, cut taxes significantly, but also provide far fewer Americans with health insurance.

However, the CBO already estimated that after spending more than $1 trillion, Obamacare would leave more than 30 million uncovered. And the early returns from Obamacare enrollment shows that number will probably be far higher.

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