Starting today at 1 pm ET, the Republican Party will run a 12-hour marathon to educate people about the 12 truths of the Pelosi Plan for ObamaCare. When they arranged this, they couldn’t have guessed that Pelosi would call for a vote on a bill less than 48 hours after they finish their broadcast at GOP.com — even while the 1990-page bill gets changes and additions. Mike Pence invites people to interact, via e-mail and Twitter, to get their questions answered:
Welcome to “Pelosi Plan Exposed: 12 Truths about PelosiCare and Republican Alternatives.” Over the course of 12 hours we will take an in-depth look at the Pelosi health care bill set for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in the coming days. We will also explore common-sense Republican alternatives and explain why they will give the American people the health care reform they need and deserve.
This will be a 12-hour live online telecast beginning at 1pm ET on Thursday, November 5, 2009.
What about the alternative? The New York Post reports on the new GOP plan to reform the health-care system, and it comes in at about an eighth of the length of the Pelosi Plan:
A 230-page draft was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. A spokeswoman for Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said changes were still being made before the bill would be finalized in time to offer as an alternative when Democrats begin floor debate on their bill, possibly at the end of this week.
The bill leaves out a number of the key features of the Democrats’ 1,990-page legislation, such as new requirements for employers to insure their employees and for nearly all Americans to purchase insurance. It also doesn’t block insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions, as Democrats would do.
Instead, the Republican plan increases incentives for people to use health savings accounts, caps non-economic jury awards in medical malpractice cases at $250,000, provides various incentives to states with the aim of driving down premium costs and allows health insurance to be sold across state lines.
“As Leader Boehner has made clear, our proposal will focus on the No. 1 concern of the American people — reducing health care costs, and we do it at a price tag our nation can afford,” said spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier, though Republicans have not said how much their bill would cost.
It’s not perfect, but it goes in the right direction. The proper reform would be to strip the tax benefits of employer-based health plans and encourage people to buy catastrophic insurance directly, while using HSAs to pay for routine medical costs themselves. That would allow real pricing mechanisms to control actual costs, solve overuse, and encourage innovation in retail medicine.
Note that the Republicans actually attack one significant (but not primary) inflater of actual costs: malpractice abuse. Capping non-economic awards or punitive damages (as is already the case in California) takes the profit motive out of ambulance-chasing. The CBO estimated that such a reform would save the industry over $135 billion over 10 years and reduce deficit spending by $54 billion over the same period. Democrats, in thrall to the trial-lawyers lobby, won’t even consider this common-sense action.
Be sure to tune in, but not during the 3-4 pm ET period, where we’ll be doing a Melt the Phones segment on TEMS. We’ll be calling Congressional offices to tell them to vote no on the Pelosi plan.