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June 05, 2013 1:10 PM The Return of “Repeal and Reverse”

By Ed Kilgore

Presumably as part of Eric Cantor’s dubious effort to dust off ancient conservative policy proposals to offer “positive alternatives” that make life easier for The Folks, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) is reviving his own comprehensive health “reform” legislation from the previous Congress, according to The Hill’s Erik Wasson:

The Price proposal was a leading candidate for a replacement to ObamaCare, although GOP lawmakers failed to unify around any one bill. Price introduced his bill in 2009 as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, later adding a section to repeal the law.
The bill will not require individuals to buy insurance, something called for under the president’s healthcare reforms. Instead, the bill will offer tax deductions and advanced tax credits to purchase insurance.
“You have got to get folks covered,” said Price. “What we do is make it attractive from a financial standpoint to get coverage.”
The bill would make employer-based healthcare portable “like a 401k plan” he added. To address pre-existing conditions, uninsured individuals would be allowed to join a giant risk pool to purchase insurance, he said.
The bill would also contain a tort-reform proposal, Price said.

I don’t know if the bill will include that other notable conservative health policy “pet rock,” interstate insurance sales (guaranteed to produce a race-to-the-bottom among states wanting to host the entire insurance industry), and it sounds like Price is leaving other components of GOP health policy like Medicare vouchers and a Medicaid block-grant to Paul Ryan’s serial budgets.

But it’s entirely consistent with the “repeal and reverse” stance of conservatives towards Obamacare that would “reform” health care by pushing as many people as possible into individual insurance policies and out-of-pocket cash payments for services, taking health care back to the 1950s as far as is possible.

The more you stare at the GOP “vision” of U.S. health care, the more you kinda wish they’d stick with “repeal and then nothing.” Maintaining the crappy status quo ante in health care is better than the trying to turn back the clock to the days of Dr. Kildare or even earlier.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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