WASHINGTON — Conservatives on the House Republican Study Committee unveiled a new health care reform bill Wednesday, saying their approach fulfills Obamacare’s broken promises.
The bill’s lead sponsors touted their plan as an alternative to President Obama’s signature health care law that will increase access and lower costs via a patient-focused, market-based approach to health care.
“This ought to be law — if this is law, you will see prices go down, you will see consumers have more choices, and you’ll see access to good health care increasing,” RSC Chairman Steve Scalise said at a Wednesday press conference. “Again, those are all things President Obama promised but he broke every one of those promises along the way. This helps fulfill that promise.”
The RSC’s “Health Care Reform Act” starts off by repealing Obamacare, then looks for savings through price transparency, more competitive health care markets, and reforms to medical liability law while offering expansions to health saving accounts and a state-based approach to dealing with pre-existing conditions.
“The actually premise of the Affordable Care Act — of increasing access and lowering cost is one I wholeheartedly agree with, but the methodology of how we got there with the bill, this 27,00 page bill, has not done that,” said RSC Heath Care Working Group Chairman Phil Roe, of Tennessee.
“The chairman said we need to have a market-centered bill that doesn’t have any mandates in it, that doesn’t raise taxes, that increases access, and levels the playing field on the tax structure,” Roe added.
North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers contrasted the size of the RSC’s legislation with Obamacare, explaining that the RSC’s bill is the beginning of the solution.
“It’s 181 pages, a lot less than what the Affordable Care Act is,” she noted. “But also it’s a starting point. This is a starting conversation we’re going to be having with the American people on a good sound plan to not only help with health care coverage, but brining down the cost of health care all together.”
According to Rep. Todd Rokita of Indiana, price transparency is one of the best ways to bring down costs.
“Empowered with that [price] information we’ll be able to apply our skill set as good consumers to our health care decisions and automatically and very quickly be able to drive down costs,” he said.
When asked whether the reforms in the bill could work without repeal of Obamacare, Louisiana Rep. John Fleming said “no way,” since the president’s health care law “is not fixable or reparable.”
“It is kind of like a skyscraper that has been built on a terrible foundation. You can’t fix it. You have to tear it down and start all over again,” he said.
Scalise noted that the RSC is pushing for the bill to move through the regular order process and come down to the House floor for a vote. He added that while RSC has not received a formal commitment from House leadership on the process yet, he said he has received interested in the legislation from non-RSC members.
“I think a lot of momentum will continue to grow and ultimately we are going to push to get a vote on the House floor through the regular order process,” he said.