Republicans fight Obamacare, but have similar idea

Guest Columnist and Guest Columnist

We hear a lot of talk about the negative impact ‘Obamacare’ will have on the American people, but we don’t often hear about the lesser-known Republican alternative.

Proposed by conservative think-tank, The Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s, The Heritage Consumer Choice Health Plan was meant to provide health insurance to all American households by requiring all citizens to be insured through free-market insurance company plans, not a socialized takeover of health care.

This plan sought to make individuals responsible for their own health care by making health insurance necessary for all individuals rather than the use of big government programs and American tax dollars fueling the welfare state.

Former Speaker of the House and a 2012 Republican candidate for president, Newt Gingrich, said this plan was “exactly like automobile insurance,” which requires anyone with a car to be insured in case of things like accidents, but for health care. The HCCHP was meant to protect Americans’ health and well-being and promote self-determination, free-market health insurance solutions and competition among insurance companies.

2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney successfully used this plan as governor of Massachusetts. Seeking to provide greater “access to affordable health insurance and to eliminate the ‘free riders’ who expected the government or taxpayers to pay for their health care,” Romney’s plan covered nearly a half a million people who were previously uninsured and it was done without raising taxes, according to his website.

After five years of being in effect, nearly 100 percent of adults and children in the state had medical insurance (the highest in the nation). Many more businesses offered medical insurance to their employees, and the cost of health care premiums dropped dramatically. On the state level we can clearly see this conservative, free-market alternative to ‘Obamacare’ has been wildly successful, so why is nothing being done on the national level?

Legislation has been proposed with these ideals in mind since 1993 with the backing of prominent Republicans like Orrin Hatch, Charles Grassley, Robert Bennett and Christopher Bond, but no headway is made with the conservative health insurance plan on a national scale until 2010 with the proposal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The PPACA includes in it the requirement of individuals to purchase health insurance from private insurance companies, providing coverage to 33 million Americans by 2022, rather than the use of government programs and tax dollars to provide for them.

Naturally, the conservative plan which sought to fix a problem in health care coverage using free-market solutions proposed with a Democratically controlled House of Representatives, Senate and Presidency was passed and signed into law exclusively by Democrats.

The PPACA, also known as ‘Obamacare,’ became law without a single Republican vote and conservative proponents of similar plans such as Hatch, Grassley, Bennett, Bond, Gingrich and even Romney all vehemently opposed the law while distancing themselves from the fact they supported the individual mandate.

Rather than acknowledging they’ve gotten what they want, the Republican Party has tried more than 40 times to repeal the PPACA and failed. In fact, the GOP is so opposed to this law they’ve shut down the federal government, furloughing government workers like FDA food inspectors; denying WIC benefits to low-income mothers and children; and ceasing funding for the NIH cancer research trails in an attempt to defund the law.

So, what’s the GOP’s problem with the Affordable Care Act that they’ve resorted to potentially seditious means to stop the law? It has the individual requirement, it keeps government out of health insurance, it offers free-market solutions and self-selection of a health insurance plan, so maybe the problem isn’t content but who proposed it.

Perhaps the Republicans’ opposition to ‘Obamacare’ is because their goals are not in the interests of the American people but are to see the president fail. After all, Republican and Tea Party candidates ran and were elected opposing President Obama at every turn; they’re just delivering on their campaign promises even if that means opposing their own plans, even if that means shutting down the federal government, even if that means hurting the American people.

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