Sen. Burr co-sponsors healthcare bill repealing ACA

From The Hill:

Three senior Senate Republicans on Monday proposed an alternative to ObamaCare that would replace “job-crushing” federal mandates with a voluntary system led by the states.

The legislative blueprint from Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) would eliminate all of the healthcare law’s federal rules, including the unpopular requirement to purchase insurance under the threat of penalty.

But the GOP proposal, known as the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment (CARE) Act, would also weaken one of ObamaCare’s most popular provisions, by giving insurers an opening to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

Aides said they didn’t expect Obama to sign such a bill into law, even if Republicans control the House and Senate in 2014. But they said the public appetite for an ObamaCare alternative is bound to grow over time. Read more from Jonathan Easley at The Hill.

More on Burr's bill from The N&O.

People with incomes of up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level – $34,470 for an individual – would be eligible for a refundable tax credit to buy health coverage or pay health bills.

The amount could be modest. A person age 18 to 34 who earns 200 percent of the poverty level – $22,980 for an individual – would receive $1,560, according to an outline of the plan.

In addition, it would rely on high-risk pools to help people with expensive health problems who don’t have insurance.

The Republican senators also said they would not expand Medicaid, as the president’s health law does, to provide insurance to the poor who haven’t had it. Instead they would encourage state reforms of the Medicaid system. States would receive federal grants to help low-income children and families, elderly people and those who are disabled if they aren’t able to buy insurance.

“We believe our proposal is roughly budget neutral over a decade,” the senators said in a question and answer sheet. They said that the insurance, Medicaid and tax changes they recommend would lower cost

Looks like Richard Burr will be one of the GOP's leaders of the 2014 Election cycle. Let the games begin.


An analysis of the Republican ACA replacement

Salon has a good analysis of the ACA replacement:

One highlight:

The idea is to induce everyone without coverage to enroll all at once, using the threat of future underwriting to motivate the healthy as well as the sick. But the incentive will be much stronger for people who are already sick. And once the enrollment period closes, anyone who missed the deadline or couldn’t afford a plan or commits the grievous sin of losing coverage briefly would be consigned to pre-Obamacare purgatory until such time as they qualify for a different system.

In other words, it's the same strategy McCrory and Pope and using to run NC's state government - if you can't eliminate something you don't like, poison it with incompetence and bad regulations, then complain about how it doesn't work and blame the previous administration.

GOP healthcare proposal as a long-term threat

A knowledgeable friend and insurance agent commented that she heard that Burr's bill had "a snowball's chance in hell of passing." As I responded to her on FB, that is only true as long as Obama is President and Democrats control the Senate. I think the strategy here is just to give members of the US House (mainly, although also the Senate) talking points to continue to attack the ACA in this year's elections.

While the imminent threat of the GOP's bill is negligible, the long-term effects on the poor and unhealthy could be drastic. Folks need to pay attention and to be ready and prepared to accurately explain the advantages of the current law over the GOP proposed changes. Note that Medicaid expansion was jettisoned in the bill. As the Salon writer said, this bill will create nothing but "a mess."

Martha Brock

So Burr proposes

to repeal Obamacare and go back to the disaster we had before Obamacare. People don't have to have insurance, seniors get gouged, people with pre-existing conditions get booted, costs soar.

Apparently Burr thinks Americans are really, really stupid.

The train left long ago, Richard. Sorry you missed it.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014