What would a Republican healthcare bill look like?
Democrats have chided Republicans for not offering their own healthcare ideas. But GOP attempts to turn the debate toward more incentives and fewer mandates have been rebuffed.
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“Why don’t we put forward our own 1,000-page bill? Because then with one vote they can defeat it,” says Sen. Michael Enzi (R) of Wyoming, a member of the two panels that worked on healthcare legislation – the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the Finance Committee.Skip to next paragraph
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GOP's healthcare vision: light on mandates
What GOP plans have in common are elements to increase competition and defend against government deciding terms of healthcare or insurance.
“You ought to be able to pick your plan as opposed to having Congress dictate,” Senator Enzi adds, noting that Massachusetts – which requires universal healthcare – has 1,200 mandates; Wyoming has 23.
“Congress is going to say what the minimum insurance is that you have and if you don’t like it you pay a fine, and if you don’t pay the fine you go to jail,” he says.
As congressional panels drafted bills, Republicans also proposed hundreds of amendments, most of which were rejected.
• Capping jury awards in medical malpractice lawsuits.
• Blocking health benefits from going to illegal immigrants.
• Preventing taxpayer funding of abortion.
• Requiring a 72-hour period for lawmakers to read the bill before voting on it.
Eight Democrats joined Republicans Tuesday in a call for more transparency and 72 hours for the public to read proposed healthcare legislation before a floor vote.
“At a time when trust in Congress and the US government is unprecedentedly low, we can begin to rebuild the American people’s faith in their federal government through transparency and by actively inviting Americans to participate in the legislative process,” the senators wrote.
Democrats signing the letter to Senate majority leader Harry Reid included Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Jim Webb of Virginia. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut also signed it.
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