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Republicans are always searching for something and not finding it:  In 2003 it was WMD in Iraq. In 2013 it was a smoking gun on Benghazi or the IRS.

And since 2009, it's been "The GOP Alternative to Obamacare(TM)."

Now that Obamacare has defied expectations and reached a critical mass of enrollments, it is clearer than ever, that, as Paul Krugman put it yesterday:

Obamacare IS the conservative alternative, and not just because it was originally devised at the Heritage Foundation. It’s what a health-care system that does what even conservatives say they want, like making sure that people with preexisting conditions can get coverage, has to look like if it isn’t single-payer.
In fact, you don't have to go back to the Heritage roots in the 1990's.  In 2009, before the ACA became, as Dr. Ben Carson said, the “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” GOP Senators Tom Coburn (OK) and Richard Burr (NC) teamed with Paul "Inner City" Ryan to propose a plan that was not that far from the ACA.  As Jon Chait writes, it was:
based on replicating Mitt Romney’s successful reform in Massachusetts in the other states. It set up health-care exchanges in every state, which would be regulated heavily. The plan, the authors wrote, “prevents cherry picking — when insurance companies choose to cover only healthy patients — by equalizing risk across insurance companies and reversing the perverse incentives that leave those most vulnerable with the fewest options.” It required that all health-insurance plans “meet the same statutory standard used for the health benefits given to Members of Congress.”

Chait adds: "Ezra Klein really liked it."

At the time, the Democrats were still proposing the public option. But when they dropped that, all of a sudden, Ryan, Burr and Coburn backed off their plan and the GOP hunkered down into complete oppositional mode, with the pretense of a fig leaf of Senators Grassley and Enzi feigning participation in Baucus's health care committee.

Besides the Romneycare model, the only GOP "ideas" are "selling insurance across state lines," "tort reform," and "high risk pools."  (Of course, David Gregory et al. don't dare ask them how these would accomplish anything.)

But I haven't even heard much about this triumverate lately -- just the "skewed numbers" and "Repeal!" mantras.

So, like a viable Republican Presidential candidate, the search for a GOP health care plan is doomed.  The basic GOP plan is in existence, it is working and the GOP will get no credit for it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well, said Bethesda. (4+ / 0-)

    Why don't we just appoint Paul Krugman to be the official economist of the Democratic Party?

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 11:19:02 AM PDT

    •  Seconded (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      belinda ridgewood, HoundDog, unfangus

      I remember that shortly after both the 2008 and 2012 elections, there were rumors and suggestions that Krugman be considered for Treasury Secretary or another economic post.  I don't think he was ever seriously considered by the administration and he himself said he was unqualified (i.e., he was not an administrator).

      But imagine if he had been directing economic policy beginning in 2009, pushing for a higher stimulus and pushing back against the deficit hawks.  

      Steve Gilliard Lives.

      by Bethesda 1971 on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 11:30:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The key line - (6+ / 0-)
    and the GOP will get no credit for it
    That is why they are against it.  Their hate for President Obama is great enough for them to abandon their dogma in order to cast him in a bad light.

    I suppose that applies to some extent to any Democrat, but even more so to the President.

    •  The GOP prefers the old healthcare chaos. (0+ / 0-)

      The GOP opposes Heritage-Care is that Obama got to it first. Better yet, healthcare reform that moves forward will always be "Obamacare" even if the first step to a real healthcare system was invented by the Republicans. The next logical step (Neil Armstrong getting in the car) is a nationwide public option to fix the medicaid holdout states. States in rapid succcession going single payer is Neil Armstrong in the rocket, and when single payer is in all 50 states (and on USA owned islands) is the stepping on the moon.

      The longest journey ever taken started with the first step.

  •  Instead of ACA, it should have been called (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    limpidglass, kurt

    the Insurance Company Rescue Act. Without ACA, health insurance was heading into a death spiral where you could only afford policies that were actually unusable. The Insurance industry should be erecting bronze statues of Obama in their plush lobbies. He saved them.

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 11:35:12 AM PDT

  •  "The basic GOP plan is in existence" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Feature or Bug?

  •  Fuck them!!! They get and deserve NO thanks. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mwm341, unfangus
  •  Although it is easy to say that it is a GOP plan, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    defluxion10, Bethesda 1971, unfangus, kurt

    digging deeper into the detail reveals that the ACA contains many features that were not part of the GOP plan, like the expansion of Medicaid, the inclusion of no copay preventative services, and strong consumer protections.

    There was a great comment explaining the differences in one of the blogs yesterday or the day before, but I did not think to bookmark it. I wish the author would put it up in a diary.

    “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

    by ahumbleopinion on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 12:13:40 PM PDT

    •  Found the comment on Romneycare vs Obamacare: (5+ / 0-)

      Except Romneycare is much different than Obamacare (31+ / 0-)

      In point of fact, the Republicans would not have passed this bill. And let me show you why Obamacare and Romneycare are two very different bills:

      Obamacare premium support and cost sharing subsidies help families with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty line, vs. 300% FPL under Romneycare.

      OC bans lifetime and annual benefit caps and RC does not.

      OC eliminates pre-existing condition exclusions for all health insurance policies, RC does not.

      OC requires health insurance companies to spend at least 80-85 cents of every premium dollar on medical costs as opposed to profits, marketing and overhead.  RC includes no such provisions.

      OC allows young adults to stay on their parents' health insurance policies until they reach age 26. RC allows young adults to stay on their parents' plan for up to two years after they are no longer dependent, and no older than age 25.

      OC requires that all health insurance policies cover preventive care services (ie: contraception) with no co-pays or other cost sharing. RC has no such protections.

      OC requires that all Members of Congress and their staffs can receive federal health insurance coverage via the new state health insurance exchanges. RC did not make any similar requirement on Massachusetts state legislators.

      OC improves Medicare for its beneficiaries by closing the prescription drug "donut hole;" providing an annual wellness checkup with no cost sharing; lowering beneficiary premiums; and extending the life of the Hospital Insurance/Part A Trust Fund by about 8 years. RC does not address or improve Medicare at all.

      OC instigates a significant effort to lower the health care system's administrative costs. RC has no such provisions at all.

      OC instigates a series of reforms in the delivery of medical care services, including the establishment of accountable care organizations, medical homes, value-based insurance designs, penalties for excessive rates of hospital acquired infections and readmissions, and more. RC does not address delivery system improvements at all.

      OC establishes a series of programs and initiatives to improve public health, prevention and wellness, including the creation of the first-ever national prevention strategy. RC provides funding for some existing public health programs, though no new public health or prevention initiatives.

      OC requires every chain restaurant with at least 20 outlets to post on menus and menu boards the calories of every item on its menu. RC has no such public information requirement.

      OC includes major new funding for community health centers and the National Health Service Corps to improve the nation's supply of primary care services. RC has no such provisions.

      OC requires the establishment of a National Health Workforce Commission -- appointed, though blocked from convening by House Republicans. RC does not address health care workforce needs at all.

      OC establishes major new provisions to combat health care fraud and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. RC includes no provisions addressing fraud and abuse in any sector.

      OC establishes new standards and a national framework to combat elder abuse, including violence, neglect, and financial exploitation. RC includes no such provisions.

      OC requires that drug, medical device, and medical supply companies publicly report all gifts, honoraria, and other gratuities to physicians and other licensed medical professionals. RC includes no such provisions.

      OC includes provisions to ensure that nursing patients and their families are able to obtain transparent information about the ownership and corporate responsibility of nursing homes. RC includes no such protections.

      OC establishes a new 10% tax on indoor tanning services, which have been linked to the explosion in serious skin cancers, especially melanomas, among young women ages 15-35. RC does not address this epidemic.

      So are you really telling me that Republicans would have passed Obamacare?

      by NedSparks on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 04:53:12 PM EDT

      “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

      by ahumbleopinion on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 12:21:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

        I guess the point is that the for central concept of a mandate and continuation of insurance as opposed to single payer or Medicare buy-in the plans are similar.

        Is there an equivalent to Medicaid expansion under Romneycare?

        Steve Gilliard Lives.

        by Bethesda 1971 on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 12:44:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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