Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Politics

Health care

No alternatives to ObamaCare? Republicans rebut White House claim

President Obama has tried to defend his health care plan lately by criticizing Republicans for trying to roll back ObamaCare without offering any alternatives -- despite the fact that Republicans have offered several. 

In a White House news conference a week ago, the president said: "They used to say, 'well, we're going to replace it with something better.' There's not even a pretense now that they're going to replace it with something better." 

Moments later, Obama elaborated, saying "they used to say they had a replacement. That never actually arrived, right? I mean, I've been hearing about this whole replacement thing for two years -- now I just don't hear about it, because basically they don't have an agenda to provide health insurance to people at affordable rates." 

The assertion makes some Republicans livid. 

"For the president to say that no Republican member of Congress has put up a positive solution, or a solution to the health care challenge, is simply not true," said Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who introduced his own health care bill before ObamaCare was even passed. 

His wasn't the only one. 

"I think the president has an incredibly short memory," said John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas. "He seems to have forgotten his campaign spent millions and millions of dollars attacking the John McCain health plan. In fact, that was their major argument against John McCain." 

After the campaign, that plan was championed in Congress and co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. 

Goodman explains the plan "would grant a refundable tax credit to every American. It would treat us all same, unlike ObamaCare. It would not discourage employers from hiring anyone. It would not push us all into part-time jobs." 

Goodman was referring to criticism that the current health care law will drive employers to push workers into part-time status, due to a provision that requires some employers to offer coverage to workers logging 30 hours or more per week. The White House denies this, with a top economic adviser arguing recently that there is "no systematic evidence that the Affordable Care Act is having an adverse impact on job growth or the number of hours employees are working." 

One analyst says most Republican plans, including the Price plan, aim to give every American the same tax benefit as those who get tax-free employer-provided health insurance -- but put the power and the money under the individual's control. 

Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute said those who pay the piper, call the tune. 

"If your boss controls your health care spending, your boss gets to choose your insurance. If the government gets to control your health care spending, then they get to ration care," he said. "If you control your own money, then you get more choice and more control over your health care dollars." 

Price emphasizes that his and other alternatives would let consumers choose what kind of insurance they want, while ObamaCare requires consumers to buy insurance and sets guidelines for what will be offered on the market. 

"We ought to be moving in the direction of patient-centered health care," Price said. "Which means patients and families and doctors making medical decisions, not Washington, D.C." 

Republicans are making clear they do indeed have alternatives, including ways to protect those with pre-existing conditions, in spite of the president's comments. 

Their problem, analysts say, is they don't have a single national spokesman who can step forward and say "this is the plan," in the same way the president can.

Jim Angle currently serves as chief national correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1996 as a senior White House correspondent.