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Pre-Summit Comparison: Has The GOP Offered A ‘Better Way’ On Health Care?

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"Pre-Summit Comparison: Has The GOP Offered A ‘Better Way’ On Health Care?"

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ObamaCantorYesterday, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) responded to White House requests for the GOP to post a comprehensive health care bill online by explaining that Republicans had already offered and voted on a comprehensive alternative on the House floor. “Our House bill has been scored by the CBO and will bring down insurance premiums. That’s what the American people want right now while we’re in economic times of unprecedented unemployment,” he said. Calling the GOP bill “a better way,” Cantor characterized the President’s bill “is a nonstarter” that “the American people have resoundingly rejected.”

Republicans have yet to coalesce around a single health care proposal or commit to offering a viable alternative at tomorrow’s bipartisan health care summit. But since the GOP is demanding that Democrats scrap their proposal and adopt the GOP’s solutions, comparing the two bills may be instructive. As it turns out, the GOP alternative would do little to lower health care spending or expand access to affordable coverage:


President’s Bill GOP’s House Plan
Insured 30 million 3 million
Cost of Bill $950B/10yrs $61B/10yrs
Access Healthier uninsured will be guaranteed coverage from a regulated exchange.

Sicker uninsured will be guaranteed coverage from a regulated exchange.

Lower-income Americans can enroll in their state’s Medicaid program.

Americans with employer-based coverage will keep the coverage they now have.
Healthier uninsured could find affordable coverage in the individual market.

Sicker uninsured will be denied individual coverage. Could find coverage in high risk pools but that’s often inadequate.

Lower-income Americans who aren’t offered affordable coverage will be uninsured or underinsured.

Americans with employer-based coverage will keep the coverage they now have.
Regulations Insurers can’t deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions or rescind coverage.

Insurers can’t apply lifetime or annual limits to coverage.

Insurers will have to offer comprehensive benefit packages that provide adequate coverage to sicker Americans.
Insurers can deny coverage because of preexisting conditions but they won’t be able to rescind coverage.

Insurers can’t impose “arbitrary” lifetime limits and annual limits on coverage.

Insurers don’t have to offer comprehensive benefit packages that provide adequate coverage to sicker Americans.
Premiums CBO concluded that most Americans would pay less or the same for insurance.

The majority of Americans who purchase coverage through the exchanges would pay premiums that are “56 percent to 59 percent lower, on average than the nongroup premiums charged under current law.”*

Families purchasing coverage in the small business market could save up to $100 annually.*

Families purchasing coverage in the large-group market could save up to $200 annually.*
CBO concluded that healthier Americans would pay less for insurance.

CBO concluded that the bill would slightly reduce premiums for healthier Americans who purchase coverage in the individual or small group market but “would tend to increase the premiums paid by less healthy enrollees.”
Medicare The bill eliminates some waste and fraud in the Medicare system.

The bill gets rid of the special subsidy to private insurers participating in Medicare Advantage.

The bill extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by 9 years.*

Closes the doughnut hole that affected 3.4 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D in 2008.
The bill eliminates some waste and fraud in the Medicare system.

The bill gets rid of the special subsidy to private insurers participating in Medicare Advantage.

The bill extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by 0 years.

Keeps the doughnut hole open.
Small Businesses Small employers can take advantage of large risk pools by purchasing coverage through the bill’s state-based exchanges.

Small employers would receive a tax credit to help them provide coverage to their employees.
Small employers can come together and purchase coverage in associations. Association health care plans have sole discretion in selecting specific items and services that can be included as benefits. Not required to provide a standard package of benefits. Can craft skimpy policies that attract healthier applicants.

Small employers would not receive a tax credit to help them provide coverage to their employees.
Expenditures The most conservative government estimates conclude that the bill would reduce national health care expenditures by at least 0.3% by 2019.* Does not reduce national health spending. Establishes state innovation program grants to reward states for lowering the cost of their premiums.

*Using CBO estimates for Senate health care bill.

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