Yesterday, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) doubled down on his party’s commitment to repealing health care reform and promised to replace it with a GOP alternative, paid for by the savings from malpractice reform:
PENCE: Let me tell you, I believe the House Republicans are committed to repealing ObamaCare lock, stock and barrel, and replacing it with health care reform that will focus on lowering the cost of health insurance without growing the size of government. The Republican alternative, I know we get talked about a lot as a party of ‘no’; we actually had substantive alternatives on all these bills. On health care, our alternative allowed Americans to purchase across state lines, it brought about medical malpractice reform, used those savings to cover people with pre-existing conditions.
I know that Republicans have promised to fund their replacement health care plan — which places everyone with a chronic condition in a state-based high risk pool, allows younger and healthier Americans to purchase the least regulated and cheapest insurance product, and encourages small businesses to form purchasing associations — with malpractice savings before, but hearing it post reform reminds me why that’s such a bad idea.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that between 2010 and 2019, tort reform will save about $54 billion and so that’s all the GOP plan can cost (the actual amendment came in at $61 billion, so they had some other savings). That’s the cap — about 6% of the cost of the current health law. And the CBO estimates that the Republican plan — also known as the Boehner proposal — would cover just 3 million people and actually increase the number of uninsured to 52 million by 2019. Deficits would decrease by $68 billion over the 2010–2019 period and the bill could slightly reduce premiums for Americans who purchase coverage independently.
So that’s really the choice: you can keep the current law, which covers some 30 million Americans or you can switch to this, which will increase the number of uninsured. That’s the choice Pence is presenting.