WASHINGTON — Republicans have the answers to lower health costs and expanded coverage, not the Democrats who hold power in Washington and are creating more problems as they “recklessly pursue” a government takeover of the health care system, a GOP leader said.
The top House Republican, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, outlined his party’s alternative in the GOP’s weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. Democratic proposals are gaining momentum in Congress and Republicans are scrambling for support to try to block them.
Taking aim at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan, Boehner said it would put Washington in charge of health care decisions, add to the bureaucracy, raise premiums and cut Medicare benefits.
“Enough is enough. Breaking the bank and taking away the freedoms Americans cherish is not the answer to the challenges we face,” Boehner said.
Debate could begin this coming week on legislation developed by House Democrats that extends coverage to 96 percent of Americans, imposes new requirements on individuals and employers to get insurance and provides subsidies for lower-income people. The bill rolled out Thursday includes a new public insurance plan that would pay providers and hospitals at rates negotiated by the health and human services secretary.
The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to begin debate within two weeks on a bill crafted by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Boehner said there is a choice to be made: “We can come together to implement smart, fiscally responsible reforms to improve Americans’ health care or we can recklessly pursue this government takeover that creates far more problems than it solves.”
Boehner said a number of steps could be taken, such as letting people buy health insurance across state lines, allowing people and organizations to pool together to buy insurance for lower prices and reining in malpractice lawsuits.