Santorum in USA Today: I have a plan not just to repeal, but also to replace Obamacare

posted at 12:30 pm on April 2, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Ever since Democrats rammed Obamacare through Congress, Republicans have repeated the slogan, “Repeal and replace.” Yet, the “replace” element of that piece has never been particularly clear. What, exactly, is the Republican plan for health care reform?

As a conservative, it seems to me perfectly legitimate to just say, “Repeal.” It’s not necessarily the role of the federal government to guarantee access to affordable health care for all Americans, even if we as a society agree that such access should be a shared priority. A fourth federal entitlement program isn’t the only — or the optimal — way to meet citizens’ health care needs.

Nevertheless, the CW suggests that it’s always better to be for something than to merely be against something. Broadly speaking, Republicans are for free-market-based health care reform. The specifics of such reform, though, vary from Republican to Republican. Today, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum laid out his specifics in an op-ed in The USA Today:

My plan offers a better way to combine fiscal responsibility and health care reform. Americans should have access to high-quality, affordable health care with health care decisions made by patients and their physicians, not bureaucrats.

Our wise Founding Fathers didn’t give the government control over your health. The government has done little right these past few years, and President Obama wants to inflict this incompetence on your personal life.

Under my plan (see my website for more details), Americans will be able to buy health insurance with pre-tax dollars, or continue to receive insurance through their employer. All licensed insurance plans would be eligible. Companies would be encouraged to compete over state lines, and Americans would have a choice of different plans and premiums, just like with auto and home insurance. Health insurers could offer high-deductible plans with lower premiums combined with health savings accounts, or more traditional managed care or fee-for-service plans. Low-income individuals would get tax credits so they could buy the same kind of health care as other Americans.

The contrast with ObamaCare could not be starker. ObamaCare prohibits health savings accounts, and turns the insurance industry into a federally controlled public utility. My plan would allow all Americans to shop around and get their health insurance on the open market — just like they buy other kinds of insurance.

Santorum also advocates health care liability reform to address rising costs caused by frivolous lawsuits.

As Santorum states, his plan contrasts sharply with Obamacare in that it’s not an idea for a new federal program: It’s a plan to return the freedom to decide questions of health care to individuals. It’s a mark of how widely accepted the idea of a welfare state has become, though, that presidential candidates are expected to present a plan to increase access to affordable health care at all.


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