This morning, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) characterized the entire House health care bill as a “government run insurance 2.0.” “I mean, what we are seeing here is, you know, government-run insurance, mandates for businesses, an enormous tax increase, most of which or at least half of which will be paid for by small business owners.” But Pence and the Republicans should actually read the bill before dismissing it. For while the party may oppose the bill’s provisions to tax the top 0.3% of Americans to fund reform or the new fees imposed on the pharmaceutical industry to help close the donut hole in Medicare Part D, on the whole, the 1,990 page bill is a fairly moderate proposal that incorporates numerous conservative policies.
Here are just 10 reasons for why Republicans should support the House health bill:
1. REPUBLICANS ASKED FOR – DEFICIT NEUTRAL BILL: “Do the American people believe that this almost 2,000 page bill won’t add to the deficit?” [Rep. Eric Cantor, 10/29/2009]
HOUSE BILL – DEFICIT NEUTRAL BILL: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the House bill costs $894 billion over 10 years and actually reduces the deficit by $30 billion and continues to reduce the deficit over the second 10 years.
2. REPUBLICANS ASKED FOR – REDUCE COSTS OVER LONG TERM: “Nevertheless, House Republicans recognize the need to lower health care costs.” [Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), 9/9/09]
HOUSE BILL – REDUCES COSTS OVER LONG TERM: Encourages payment reforms that can help lower costs. Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to establish specific benchmarks for expansion of the Accountable Care Organization, Payment Bundling, and Medical Home pilot programs. The bill will also slow the rate of growth of the Medicare program from 6.6% annually to 5.3%.
3. REPUBLICANS ASKED FOR – POLICIES ACROSS STATE LINES: “Interstate competition allowing people to buy insurance across state lines.” [Sen. John Thune (R-SD), 9/8/2009]
HOUSE BILL – POLICIES ACROSS STATE LINES: Allows for the creation of State Health Insurance Compacts – permits states to enter into agreements to allow for the sale of insurance across state lines.
4. REPUBLICANS ASKED FOR – MEDICAL MALPRACTICE REFORM: “Why not bring about reasonable restrictions and limits on medical malpractice claims to end the era of defensive medicine?” [Rep. Mike Pence (R-IA), 9/9/2009]
HOUSE BILL – ENCOURAGES MALPRACTICE REFORM: The bill establishes a voluntary state incentives grant program to encourage states to implement “certificate of merit” and “early offer” alternatives to traditional medical malpractice litigation.
5. REPUBLICANS ASKED FOR – HIGH RISK POOLS: “Senator McCain has a proposal sometimes called high-risk pools at the state level…These are efforts I think we can have bipartisan agreement on and deal with the question of pre-existing conditions.” [Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), 9/10/2009]
HOUSE BILL – HIGH RISK POOLS: To fill the gap before the Exchange becomes available in 2013, the bill creates an insurance program with financial assistance for those uninsured for several months or denied policy due to preexisting conditions.
6. REPUBLICANS ASKED FOR – ALLOW YOUNG PEOPLE TO STAY ON PARENTS’ POLICIES: “Recognizes that not all high school and college graduates are able to find a job that offers health care coverage after graduation. By allowing dependents to remain on their parents’ health policies up to the age of 25, the number of uninsured Americans could be reduced by up to 7 million.” [Republican Health Solutions Group]
HOUSE BILL – ALLOW YOUNG PEOPLE TO STAY ON PARENTS’ POLICIES: The bill requires health plans to allow young people to remain on their parents’ insurance policy until they turn 27.
7. REPUBLICANS ASKED FOR – NO PUBLIC MONEY FOR ABORTION: “The American people will not stand for government-run insurance that uses taxpayer money to fund abortions in this country.” [Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), 10/16/2009]
HOUSE BILL – NO PUBLIC MONEY FOR ABORTION: The bill prohibits abortion services from being made part of essential benefits package and prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortion (except in cases of rape, incest, and to save life of the woman).
8. REPUBLICANS ASKED FOR – PROTECT SMALL BUSINESSES: “Helps employers offer health care coverage to their workers by reducing their administrative costs through a new small business tax credit.” [Republican Health Solutions Group]
HOUSE BILL – PROTECTS SMALL BUSINESSES: The bill exempts 86% of businesses from the requirement to provide coverage. Businesses with payrolls below $500,000 are exempt while firms with payrolls between $500,000 and $750,000 would pay a graduated penalty. Small businesses would also receive a tax credit that helps cover 50% of their health care expenses.
9. REPUBLICANS ASKED FOR – PROMOTE JOB WELLNESS PROGRAMS: “Promotes prevention and wellness by giving employers and insurers greater flexibility to financially reward employees who seek to achieve or maintain a healthy weight, quit smoking, and manage chronic illnesses like diabetes.” [Republican Health Solutions Group]
HOUSE BILL – PROMOTE JOB WELLNESS PROGRAMS: The bill establishes a grant program to help small employers create or strengthen workplace wellness programs.
10. REPUBLICANS ASKED FOR – DELIVERY SYSTEM REFORM: “Uses new and innovative treatment programs to better coordinate care between health
care providers, ensuring that those with chronic disease receive the care they need and do not continue to fall through the cracks.” [Republican Health Solutions Group]
HOUSE BILL – DELIVERY SYSTEM REFORM: The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to establish specific benchmarks for the expansion of the Accountable Care Organization, Payment Bundling, and Medical Home pilot programs.
11. REPUBLICANS ASKED FOR – HELP AMERICANS 55-64: “To help those
aged 55 to 64, the plan increases support for pre- and early-retirees with low- and
modest-incomes.” [Republican Health Solutions Group]
HOUSE BILL – HELPS AMERICANS 55-64:: Creates a reinsurance program to help cover expensive health claims for employers that provide coverage to Americans 55-64.