House Republicans aim to kill Democratic health bill
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are gearing up for an epic battle against the sweeping healthcare reform that Democratic leaders hope to bring to the House floor for debate later this week.
“Our goal is to make this as difficult as possible to vote for it,” said House Republican Leader John Boehner. “We think this bill is the wrong prescription for what ails our healthcare system in America.”
Representative Mike Pence, who heads the House Republican Conference, said the campaign against the bill unveiled last week by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began over the weekend with Republican members delivering copies of the huge 1,990-page bill to public libraries. Also, Republican women are speaking against the bill this week on the House floor.
“It is a fact that 85 percent of healthcare decisions in this country are made by American women,” Pence said.
On Thursday, House Republicans plan a special Internet town hall meeting. Pence said the discussion with participants will last at least 12 hours.
“Our members are going to stand on principle against Speaker Pelosi’s trillion dollar government takeover of our healthcare system,” Boehner said.
Republicans plan to offer a far less sweeping alternative to the Democratic bill. Boehner said it will focus on reducing the cost of health insurance.
The proposal will allow individuals and businesses to purchase insurance across state lines and to form pools to buy insurance. It will also seek to limit malpractice lawsuits, which Republicans say lead to higher healthcare costs.
The Republican bill will also encourage states to look over their own insurance laws and mandates to find ways to lower costs.
“Many states don’t realize that mandates in their own laws actually drive up the cost of health insurance,” Boehner said.
The Republican bill will not include the sweeping insurance market reforms contained in the Democratic bill, which would bar insurers from excluding people from coverage or charging more because of medical history.
Instead, the Republican bill would provide some federal money to help states create high risk insurance pools where those people could obtain coverage, Boehner said.
Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (House Republican Leader John Boehner plays golf with Tiger Woods.)