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Dan Liljenquist: Republicans now have a good alternative to Obamacare

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  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 2:54 a.m.

    Forbes magazine, which no one would accuse of being part of the "liberal media", ran a piece on this plan yesterday. Their conclusion was that it amounted to a tax cut on corporations and a tax increase on workers. Republicans just can't seem to help themselves, everything they do takes away from workers and gives to corporations.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 30, 2014 5:56 a.m.

    The GOP has FINALLY, after years of carping, after 40+ votes to kill, after screaming repeal and replace, they have finally written an actual replacement proposal.

    They will quickly find out that the devil is in the details (as it always is)

    I am quite confident that it has some good and bad parts, just like Obamacare, just like any piece of legislation.

    And, given the GOP bases stance that really pushed Repeal and then do nothing, I have a suspicion that the pushback for the Patient Care Act will come as loudly from the right as the left.

    Regardless, at least the GOP has actually written something. I have been carping for them to put forth a real plan, and now they have done it.

    So, I will commend them for doing so.

    Now, they will have to defend it.

    Wonder what Mike Lee thinks about it. (I think I could guess)

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 30, 2014 6:41 a.m.

    Democrats will never go for this health care plan because it leaves too much freedom of choice for insured people, for doctors, your insurer and that is too practical. Demos must control you, your insurer and your doctor for them to approve.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Jan. 30, 2014 7:19 a.m.

    @ JoeBlow. The difference that you will see is that the GOP plan will not be forced upon us, concocted behind closed door, bribery used to get it passed (Louisiana or Nebraska purchases),explained with "we will have to pass it to know what's in it", lied about ("If you like your insurance you can keep it, Period"). and mandated! It will be open, honest, clear and it will actually help patients, doctors and insurers, not destroy them.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 30, 2014 7:25 a.m.

    Sounds like it has some solid points (and a few glaring weaknesses).

    But the real issue is timing.

    This should have been on the table when the ACA was initiated.

    The Republicans are a day late and a dollar short here. I hope they learn to come to the table at the right time when key legislation is being produced.

  • isrred South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    Dan conveniently forgot to mention the part where it will start taxing your health care plans from your employer. As the first comment mentioned, it's nothing more than a massive Tax burden shift from the wealthy and business to the middle working class.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 30, 2014 7:32 a.m.

    Read the text of the proposed Patient CARE Act, it is only eight pages. Lookup the word "gobbledygook". The "new" plan is not an authorized duty of Congress. Nothing in the Constitution allows the Federal Government to regulate or issue health insurance. Insurance companies are not controlled by the Federal Government, nor are they subject to Interstate Commerce laws, because their license to operate limits them to issue policies within a State.

    Insurance is a mess, but it is a mess because of government. Look what Obama has done. He has destroyed an industry that is the backbone of the stock market. Where do you think insurance companies put the money they receive from premiums? It is invested. In the worst case, they can invest premiums for at least thirty-days before paying for services. That "float" adds billions to the stock market, billions that enable the common person to borrow for a house or a car.

    The Federal Government can help in limited ways:

    - Tort reform

    - Equality in issuing policies

    - Equality in pricing (the lowest price a doctor charges is the price he charges for all patients)

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 30, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    Dan, forgot to mention the plan has a new tax on workers. Your employer health insurance will now be taxable (first 67% I think).

    Tax subsidies to the working poor. Guess what they all ready have deductions that eliminate their federal taxes.

    The plan does nothing to ensure everyone has skin in the game. In fact it expressly guarantees we will still have large numbers of folks using the ER as their medical plan. Aside from the fact this is not good for the individual it's horrible for everyone else who is paying.

    The one place the plan could gain traction is the ability to have a crappy plan if that is what you want. Albeit it only effects a small portion of Americans it's the battle cry of the republicans.

    There's still no chance it has any hope of becoming law until there is another President.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Jan. 30, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    @ isrred. Since the "rich" pay the vast majority of taxes that are paid, your suggestion that this is a tax burden shift away from the wealthy is nonsense. The wealthiest Americans pay nearly 80% of all federal taxes and about 47% of other Americans pay no federal income taxes at all. So please explain how this plan shifts the burden onto the middle class? Incidentally, about 80% of us get our healthcare insurance from our employers as part of our compensation package which means business is already paying for the vast majority of our healthcare insurance, so what changed? To provide healthcare insurance to the poor, someone has to pay for it and the truth is we already are! Why do you think hospitals charge $5.00 for an aspirin tablet? There is no such thing as something for nothing.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    The ACA is working...

    It's putting private insurance in "a precarious position". That's what it was intended to do.

    It's supposed to cause the crisis that will get Americans out of their private insurance and running to the Government for refuge. Then Democrats will be forced to take over this whole industry... (for our own good of course).

    ===

    It's a downward spiral folks. When not enough young/healthy people sign up for insurance... Premiums must skyrocket (or they won't have the $$$$ to pay our medical bills. When premiums skyrocket... people will bail and go to the cheaper/subsidized government plans. Businesses decide they can't afford to provide this benefit and dump their employees on the Government plan... and Democrats will have to take over (for our own good).

    Then there will be no competition, and the only forces remaining to force improvements to the system... is how loudly and effectively we can howl and petition the Government to improve our healthcare.

    I just hope it won't get political (right). Or Democrats only listen to the people/communities that voted for them, or communities who's votes they want to extract with their favors.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    Yes, the GOP has the New Jersey governor to use his methods to get what they want.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 8:21 a.m.

    Where were the Republicans four years ago when the ACA was being discussed? (Hatch refused to participate in the discussions).

    At this point, the ACA is pretty much entrenched and by the time this legislation went anywhere, which it won't, it would be disruptive. These Senators would do better to proposes specific ideas/legislation that addresses the weaknesses of the ACA and makes it better. But they won't. Here's why. This is nothing but a tactic for the upcoming elections. Mark my word on that.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    Four years ago, the GOP cried for patience to analyze and study and come up with a good plan instead of implementing a poor plan. ACA was rushed and ill-conceived. It was wholly and completely driven by politics and had nothing to do with trying to help people.

    Where is it today? More people are uninsured today as a result of this plan that were uninsured four years ago without it. It is accomplishing the exact opposite of its stated intents. Of course, the stated intents were not what the Dems were really aiming for. ACA was a Trojan Horse and the gullible part of our society is still trying to drag it through our front door despite its overtly apparent flaws.

    I applaud the GOP for not having a comprehensive plan four years ago (they had several plans with much smaller scope and an idea to more gradually overhaul medical insurance). Any plan four years ago would have been equally ill-conceived. They would have been as short-sided as the Democrats.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 30, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    "The difference that you will see is that the GOP plan will not be forced upon us, concocted behind closed door"

    Oh Puleeze.

    The insurance mandate was a GOP idea to begin with.

    "bribery used to get it passed"

    Unfortunately, this happens quite often in all kinds of legislation. You act as though this is the first time.

    And the oft used "we will have to pass it to know what's in it"

    This refers to evolving legislation. There is no sense in carping about legislation that is being modified. Until they agree on a final version and pass it, the general public does not know what is in it. Just red meat for the right.

    "It will be open, honest, clear and it will actually help patients, doctors and insurers, not destroy them."

    We will see. But you seem to have made that declaration, why? Just because the GOP proposed it?

    I predict there will be strong GOP pushback from the hard right.

    Your rant would appear to just be partisan acceptance of GOP proposed legislation.

    Gotta love that mentality that "If only we would let the GOP run everything, life would be grand."

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Jan. 30, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    JoeBlow. Well, we are seeing what happens when Demos run everything aren't we?

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    If you could deduct all your medical expenses, including healthcare premiums, from your taxable income, that, alone, would be a great help.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    The real republican plan: Cut taxes on the rich, increase taxes on the poor and middle class and leave millions without access to health coverage.

  • 2 bit Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    RE this question from Esquire 8:21...
    "Where were the Republicans four years ago when the ACA was being discussed?"...

    Answer:
    Locked out of the room (with lock and key). Remember... Democrats actually changed the locks on the chamber doors so Republicans couldn't enter the room while they were working out the ACA.

    You have a very short memory.

    ===

    This was a VERY sobering event at the beginning of the Obama Administration. It revealed the REAL Barack Obama style of governing (not the "hope & change", and "no more Washington as usual"... he promised during the campaign). I think it was an important event in American History and will have repercussions for a long time.

    But to answer your question of where Republicans and their suggestions were back when ACA was begin written... they were locked out. Told "We don't need your votes", and, "We don't care what you have to say, we have the votes to do this... and we're going to do whatever we want".

    NOT a good first step if you are trying to change "Washington as usual". I thought "Change" meant more bipartisan... not more dictatorial!

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    As for the cries of "This is a huge tax on workers!" You DO realize, don't you, that Obamacare already has taxes on employee health plans, right? If your health plan is "too good" you get to pony up some more, on top of your premiums.

    I think the point of the GOP plan is to try and wrest control of the insurance from employee plans to people plans. So you can get your own plan without relying on your employer.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    Roland Kaiser: Wow, I found something with which I can agree! The Republican plan is horrible. However, what you and the rest of the everything is free crowd don't realize is that there is isn't a snails difference in the end between Obamacare and the Republican alternative. It means less freedom, more tyranny, worse healthcare,but more power in the cesspool of Washington. What world do people live in who think that Washington is a sacred cow that must be worshiped and obeyed?

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 10:18 a.m.

    The serious and thoughtful, new and improved, latest and greatest...er... one and only, providing instant certainty and continued corporate welfare based healthcare plan offered by the Republicans...

    Wait a minute...

    Long, long, long ago someone described their plan as providing tremendous certainty...

    Long, long, long ago that plan got voted out...

    Republicans are now proposing a plan which will provide tremendous certainty...

    Perfect.

    BTW:

    The punitive individual and employer mandates were conceived by the Jim Demint Foundation (formally known as the Heritage Foundation). When the POTUS agreed to accept this punitive Republican concept, the Republicans decided they no longer supported their punitive mandate.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 30, 2014 10:32 a.m.

    The Republican plan is an awful alternative to ACA. There's no protection for pre-existing conditions unless you're "continually covered," which is pure doublespeak. It also calls for taxing the insurance premiums we pay and "putting Medicaid on a solid footing," whatever that means--no details forthcoming. The whole thing is a pure giveaway to Big Insurance. Dan, please wake up and take a peek behind the Orwellian curtain of words in this "plan."

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 10:34 a.m.

    @Mike Richards
    "The "new" plan is not an authorized duty of Congress. Nothing in the Constitution allows the Federal Government to regulate or issue health insurance."

    While I disagree with you on many things including health insurance reform and its constitutionality, I must say that it's refreshing to see you're consistent in your views.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 30, 2014 10:43 a.m.

    "So please explain how this plan shifts the burden onto the middle class? "

    It does so in multiple ways. First of all you will now have to pay income taxes on your employer provided health insurance. New tax, who would have thought.

    Secondly because the employer will now have to pay taxes also on the benefit, the benefit will decrease (pure republican principle).

    Next, because access to Medicaid will be drastically cut it will force millions into the private market where even if the tax break did allow them to buy insurance they will be trading full comprehensive medical coverage for catastrophic coverage.

    I could go on and on but it's clear the purpose of this proposal is to shift the burden of health care solely on to the backs of individuals and to drive them into the private market..or in other words to completely reverse the benefits of the ACA warts and all.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 10:44 a.m.

    "Second, the Patient Care Act removes the completely unrealistic requirement for insurance companies to issue insurance policies to anyone who wants one, regardless of their preexisting medical conditions. (This “guaranteed issue” requirement of ObamaCare ensures the eventual collapse of health insurance companies because people, if they know they cannot be turned down because of preexisting conditions, will only buy “insurance” when they are sick)."

    So what happens to people who can't get coverage, admittedly because of their foolishness and inconsideration of others? Do we let them die? They are still people you know. We will still be paying for them in the ER.

    This is why I advocated for "medicare for all," or single payer. The inconsiderate behavior described also points out the need for people to become more socialist in their thoughts. I'm way ahead of you there, Dan.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    @ 2 bit, the Republicans were NOT locked out. The Dems begged them to come into the room. I have a very specific memory. I was there.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    I am trying to figure out why we should cheer for a socialism-lite healthcare bill? Anything outside of repealing the ACA, and rolling back most of the mandates on insurance companies that the government has added over the past 30 years is ineffective.

    The fact remains that 40% or more of the cost of insurance is due to government mandates. Knowing that, isn't the most logical way to cut costs as simple as cutting the number of mandates?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 12:30 p.m.

    Re: RedShirt "I am trying to figure out why we should cheer for a socialism-lite healthcare bill? Anything outside of repealing the ACA, and rolling back most of the mandates on insurance companies that the government has added over the past 30 years is ineffective."

    Forty years ago most people did not have health insurance - including the elderly. I grew up in a working class family. Until exposed to student health insurance at the university I had no idea what health insurance was. My parents dealt with chronic health issues their entire lives because most of the time they could not afford care. My dad died soon after becoming medicare eligible. My mother received her first decent care upon entering medicare. Things in the past weren't as rosy as you think, RedShirt.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 1:03 p.m.

    Esquire,
    If you were there... then you have even worse memory than I thought.

    Goggle "Democrats lock Republican out of committee room" (ABC News) and read all about it.

    If THATs how Democrats build consensus... then now I understand why Washington is the way it is.

    ===

    I don't know if I'd call it a "Good" alternative. But it's an "alternative".

    Seems just as bad as ACA to me. Maybe not intended to lead to single-payer... but not
    much of an improvement on what we had before. Seems like we could do better.

  • silo Sandy, UT
    Jan. 30, 2014 4:34 p.m.

    "Goggle Democrats lock Republican out of committee room (ABC News) and read all about it." - 2 bits

    Careful to check your mirrors while you are backpedaling.

    You're initial claim was that Democrats locked Republicans out of ACA discussions, with "lock and key". A blatantly false statement on two fronts.

    Yes, a democratic committee chairman changed A lock on a meeting room....to prevent an uninvited republican aide from secretly entering through that door and recording the meeting. That meeting had nothing to do with the ACA, and all other doors to the chamber were fully accessible.

    No, democrats did not lock republicans out of ACA discussions. In fact, Republicans contributed dozens of amendments to the ACA.

    Both of these facts counter your initial claim, and both are readily available on the same resource you touted (google)

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 30, 2014 5:39 p.m.

    2bits, if this is what the republicans come up with after 5 years no wonder they were locked out originally. This has the purpose of undoing everything the ACA stands for, pushing people into the private market regardless of outcome or costs and strengthening the private insurance providers and raising personal income taxes in the process.

    There is absolutely nothing here for the American citizenry.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 30, 2014 7:45 p.m.

    Isn't it amusing to see Democrats trash Republicans for legislation that is effectively ObamaCare? Isn't it amusing to see them get all riled up because Republicans have proposed to do almost exactly what Obama fhas done? Isn't it amusing to know that they praise Obama for trashing the Constitution, for forcing people to buy insurance, for passing the cost onto the "rich guy" and then they trash Hatch for proposing almost identical legislation.

    If HatchCare is bad, then so is ObamaCare. They are two sides of the same coin. The Democrats know that ObamaCare, when fully implemented, will destroy the health care system that we have. They should also surely know that taking 18% of all money out of the private sector will destroy our economy. Why then do they praise Obama and rip Hatch?

    When Americans stand up and demand that government leave us alone, then, maybe we'll deserve to be called free. Until then, we are just pawns of the Federal Government; people to be used and abused so that Obama and his cronies can play golf and take vacations - while we grovel for crumbs from their table.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 30, 2014 8:35 p.m.

    "Isn't it amusing to see Democrats trash Republicans for legislation that is effectively ObamaCare?"

    I happen to agree that it is not vastly different.

    But....

    Isn't it amusing to see Republicans supporting legislation that is effectively ObamaCare?

    See how politics works? This surprises you?

    That mentality is called PARTISANSHIP. It is played by both sides daily.

    You seem to only recognize it when the Democrats play it.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 31, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    Wow - I thought I'd heard it all until now. So here we go back to the same old broken system where someone who has a pre-existing health condition cannot obtain insurance coverage - outrageous!

    I find this idea to be selfish and reprehensible in the extreme.

    I shouldn't be surprised though, because Senator Hatch will never get over his belief that healthcare is a privilege for the well-to-do and the well employed and not a right for anyone else.

    May I say how grateful I am for the privilege to have an illness and now I can just suffer in pain and agony and then just die so the for profit insurance companies can meet their share holder dividend objectives and pay out the obscene executive salaries.

    As an active LDS member, and a healthcare professional for nearly 40 years, I believe if we go back to the same old broken system we will rue the day when we abandon our compassion for the less fortunate in our society!

    What has happened to our humanity and compassion Senator Hatch?

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 31, 2014 8:21 a.m.

    @marxist

    Thank you for providing a very accurate historical perspective to how things were 40 years ago. Folks without insurance then and now must simply suffer and die or go to the ER (and who do you think pays for that?)

    Somehow we need to put some compassion back into the concept of healthcare. Most advanced nations in the world provide healthcare for their citizens and they do it at a much lower cost than we do and their OUTCOMES are better. Our over-priced for profit healthcare system is not the best in the world. As a healthcare professional I have studied this for years.

    Making profits should not be the only aim of providing healthcare in America!. We can and must do better. We can provide healthcare for the un-employed or not so well employed and the healthcare industry can still thrive - but their profits may not be able to be so high.

    There has to be some balance between citizens having access to decent healthcare and insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and other's profit making.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Jan. 31, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    To "Meckofahess" actually, we are less compassionate now than we were 40, 50, or 100 years ago. It used to be that people would donate to and support charity hospitals. Those hospitals were able to care for the poor and needy. Now, we have lost our compassion. People now say that they pay their taxes, and that should be sufficient.

    What you, and other like you don't realize is that most of the problems that you see within the health insurance industry are due DIRECTLY to government mandates on insurance. If you look back 40 years ago, insurance was affordable and doctors were willing to work with those that needed financial help. Since then the number of regulations has trippled, and doctors have less incentive to help those in need.

    You obviously have not looked at the profit margins of the health insurance companies. They operate on about 3% to 4% profit margins. Who says that you have to suffer so insurance companies can profit? You are just too cheap to crack open your own wallet to pay for your own care, you want others to pay for you.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 31, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    "You obviously have not looked at the profit margins of the health insurance companies"

    Best numbers available - 2012 - forbes

    These 4 are in the top 10 for highest paid CEO.

    Highest paid ceo - $131 million- McKesson - medical supply company -
    Express scripts ceo - $51 million
    United Healthcare CEO - $48 million
    Gilead Science CEO - $43 million

    That is salary per year. It does not include their stock options and other benefits.

    A bit excessive perhaps? Hard to cry poor companies with these CEO's far outpacing their non healthcare counterparts.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Jan. 31, 2014 11:09 a.m.

    To "JoeBlow" it is still cheaper than going to a government system.

    The government has an overhead rate that ranges between 20% and 30%. The private insurance companies, even with paying their CEOs so much still operate on 15% for profits plus overhead. That includes their small profit margin.

    Explain why we should go to a system that is very inefficient, if the current system is so efficient that it can pay its CEOs a lot and still be cheaper than the government?

    If profits are so bad, why support the ACA? When it was proposed 30% of the taxes and premiums gathered was going to be used to reduce the deficit. That means they planned a 30% profit margin. Doesn't that seem excessive for government to do?

  • Liddle Bruda Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 31, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    Lets be honest, the only way to fix the problem with healthcare is to get the middle man out of healthcare. For profit insurance providers are the problem. The decision for healthcare should be between the doctor and patient and not faceless corporation whose only motivation is the mighty dollar.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 31, 2014 4:43 p.m.

    A little perceptive Red Shirt;;
    "the New England Journal of Medicine. After analyzing the costs of insurers, employers, doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and home-care agencies in both the U.S. and Canada, they found that administration consumes 31.0 percent of U.S. health spending>

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 3, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    To "pragmatistferlife" that is a disingenuous distraction. Even without health insurance, you would still have much of the same administrative costs. You will still have the overhead cost on employers, doctors, hospitals, nusing homes, and home care agencies.

    Imagine how much more expensive your same scenario is with Government insurance from Medicare or Medicaid? Swapping out the government in place of private insurers would make your figure jump to at least 41%, and possibly as high as 46%.

    So again, why throw out an efficient system in favor of an more inefficient system?

    What do you propose to do that would make things less expensive? Right now the only proposals out there make things cost more.