Eric Cantor’s office spent the day beating back a story in the Hill, which initially reported that the Republican whip favored preserving certain provisions of ObamaCare. The Hill later updated and corrected the item, though the current version still has Cantor speaking about covering younger Americans and those with pre-existing conditions.
Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring dismissed the story, and said that the Virginia Republican favors the full repeal of ObamaCare, and replacing it with a Republican alternative. When asked about the alternative, Dayspring pointed me toward this legislation House Republicans introduced earlier in the year, which he said is representative of the GOP approach to issues such as covering those with pre-existing conditions.
Overall, the GOP plan was not very ambitious and is not a true free market alternative. It does allow Americans to purchase insurance accross state lines, but it doesn’t remove one of the biggest barriers to the creation of a free market for health care, which is a tax code that discriminates against those who purchase insurance on their own instead of through an employer. Nor does it include any significant changes to Medicare and Medicaid.
While stopping short of forcing insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions, the plan would force states to set up “qualifying” federally-subsidized high risk pools or reinsurance programs. It would also make dependents out of everybody through the age of 25, so younger Americans can stay on their parents policies longer. Under ObamaCare, the age is 26.
By all means, the first order of business for conservatives is finding a way to repeal ObamaCare. But winning the health care debate in the long-run will require much bolder solutions than Republican leadership has embraced thus far.