Bobby Jindal: ‘It’s no secret … I’m thinking about’ 2016

Alex Pappas Political Reporter

WASHINGTON — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday unveiled his own conservative health-care proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare as he tests the waters for a presidential run of his own in 2016.

Asked during a breakfast with reporters how his new proposal fits into a potential run for the White House, the Republican said: “In terms of 2016, look, it’s no secret that I’ve said it’s something I’m thinking about. But right now, I’m focused on winning the war of ideas.”

Jindal unveiled the health-care proposal — “The Freedom and Empowerment Plan: the Prescription for Conservative Consumer-Focused Health Reform” — in his capacity as honorary chairman of the group America Next.

The governor told reporters during the Christian Science Monitor-sponsored morning event that his plan repeals Obamacare while offering new proposals to lower health costs, guaranteeing access to people with pre-existing conditions and increasing health-care choices for consumers.

“You’ve got to win the debate of ideas before you can win the election,” he said. “I think there are too many Republicans in this town thinking that we can just run against Obamacare, we shouldn’t say anything else more specific.”

The plan includes “giving all individuals the same standard deduction for health insurance, regardless of whether they obtain that health insurance from an employer or on their own,” according to an executive summary. That “will remedy a major inequity in the tax code.”

It calls for giving states a grant pool of over $100 billion over ten years for innovation. “States could use these funds to subsidize insurance coverage for low-income individuals who would not receive tax savings from a health insurance deduction, and individuals with pre-existing conditions,” the summary states.

Other proposals include creating incentives for people to open health savings accounts, allowing individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines and implementing tort reforms to reduce costs for doctors.

During the Wednesday morning breakfast, Jindal also argued that Republicans should nominate a governor for president in 2016, saying, unlike legislators, “they’ve run things.”

“I think they’re just in a better position to be president of the United States,” he said.

But he didn’t reveal much more about his thinking on a White House campaign, saying he’s focused on helping Republicans win races in 2014.

“I’m always a big fan of lets win the election in front of us before we worry about future elections,” he said.

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