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Republicans look for alternatives to Affordable Care Act
6/1/2012
 
Both Republicans and Democrats say they have a plan B in mind in case the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act. But of course it is easier to have a plan on paper than implementing one.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she is confident the court will uphold healthcare reform legislation. If not, “we will eventually, I'm sure, have a plan. But that really isn't where all the time and energy is focused right now," she says.

Employee Benefit Adviser reports House Republicans are working to come up with a plan should the Supreme Court strike down the Affordable Care Act. “Closed-door discussions have not yet turned to specific legislative options, which may be drawn from a swath of previously proposed Republican legislation. But some say a consensus between leaders and key committee chairmen could emerge as early as the May 28 Memorial Day holiday, weeks before a Supreme Court ruling widely anticipated for June,” the publication says.

The aim is to lay out a prospective agenda for the newly elected political leadership in 2013, based on a "step-by-step" approach consisting of separate bills that address specific problems within America's $2.6 billion health care system. "When the Supreme Court acts, we will be ready with plans that actually work to lower the cost of care and to help people keep the care they want," Republican Senator John Barrasso told Employee Benefit Adviser.

Although Republicans have floated various proposals over the years, none have caught on with the public or policy wonks. In 2009, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office examined a Republican proposal that sought to allow the interstate sale of insurance, imposed medical malpractice reforms and offered incentives for state-level reforms.

As Employee Benefit Adviser notes, the CBO found the plan would cut the deficit by $68 billion over 10 years, extend coverage to only 3 million uninsured and raise insurance rates for some, including those less healthy. By contrast, the CBO has said the Affordable Care Act would reduce the deficit by $132 billion through 2019.