Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) encouraged Republicans on Wednesday to look to the organization that originated the key tenets of Obamacare in developing alternatives to President Obama’s health care law.
Asked during an appearance on Morning Joe to name a specific Republican solution to providing health care coverage to America’s uninsured, Walker pleaded that he’s “not in the federal government” before suggesting that conservatives consider policies advocated by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
“It’s really about taking the tax incentives right now, they’re really more focused on employer-based plans and offering that same incentive for everybody out there,” he said, “whether it’s a savings account account, whether it’s an individually purchased plan or one that’s going through your employer making that incentive and correcting some of the challenges that are legitimate about guaranteed issue, about pre-existing conditions, about over state line plans, all those sorts of things can be resolved without mandating an exchange either at the state or the federal level.” Watch it:
Heritage promoted the individual health care mandate in 1989 and later touted the requirement and a system of exchanges as part of Mitt Romney’s push to increase health care access in Massachusetts. In all, at least 51 Republicans supported a federal health care mandate before President Barack Obama endorsed it, including Jim DeMint, the current head of the organization.
The group has since walked away from the plan and embraced the very kind of changes Walker outlined. And while encouraging more people to purchase individual health care plans could reduce costs for healthy applicants, who insurers are eager to cover, it would provide limited relief for sicker Americans. Republicans typically propose deregulating the insurance industry and expanding existing state-based high-risk insurance pools for applicants who are denied coverage in the individual market. However, these programs have historically failed to offer affordable options.