Republicans struck first on legislation that would reshape the U.S. healthcare system, offering a plan that would give states broad authority to create and manage health insurance exchanges while giving individuals and families a tax credit up to $ 5,700 to help defray costs.
Unlike options being considered by the White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill, the GOP plan would not mandate insurance enrollment, nor does it include a public government-run health plan that would essentially compete with private payers.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who along with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) offered the bill, called it the boldest approach to healthcare in decades in the U.S.
In simplistic terms, our plan will transform healthcare from a U.S. healthcare system that triggers when people get sick to a healthcare system that embraces and incentivizes prevention, wellness and disease management, Burr said.
The bill would also transition low-income families currently on Medicaid into private plansa move expected to save states billions of dollars annually that now go to the federal-state program. Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) have sponsored a version of the bill, called the Patients Choice Act of 2009, in the House.