4 Ways the GOP Alternative to Obamacare Is Just a Giant Step Backward

Ever since the moment that the Affordable Care Act was passed, Republican congress members have been clamoring to “repeal and replace.” Repeal they have tried dozens upon dozens of times to do, but repeatedly failed to accomplish. As for replace? Well, they never quite managed to pull together a new plan to offer up instead.

That has changed. Three Republican Senators announced their own version of health care reform, The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment Act. Drafted and introduced by North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the proposal will “fulfill the promise to lower health care costs, advance patient-centered reforms, and provide needed relief from job-crushing mandates, while at the same time ensuring affordable health care for patients and taxpayers.”

Unsurprisingly, like any time the GOP starts talking about “responsibility and empowerment,” what that really means is that taxpayers should shoulder a greater burden, and businesses should reap the benefits.

So, what will this GOP version of health care reform do that Obamacare didn’t? A lot, and none of it good.

Repeal the rule on coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions: One of the big victories of the ACA was that those with pre-existing conditions could finally be covered by health insurance, since no one could be turned down and the maximum out of pockets were capped. The GOP plan also deals with pre-existing conditions, but only on their terms. You cannot be rejected for insurance due to a pre-existing condition, as long as you don’t let your coverage lapse. If you do, you have one chance to enroll in their plan, otherwise, you’re out of luck. The proposal says it helps “incentivize responsible behaviors.” But in reality, no, it means that any lapse is likely to permanently keep a person out of affordable coverage, a key reform in Obamacare.

Leave capping lifetime expenses up to states: Obamacare places a limit on how much a person will pay in their lifetime for health care, a huge issue for those who have had serious illnesses and have bankrupted themselves paying for hospital bills. The GOP plan would change that. “Our proposal would repeal this costly mandate and return the power of regulating health insurance to the states, which have historically been the primary regulators of health insurance.” To help people save money in the beginning, they have agreed to allow a potential cap, but then allow the states to decide later if they want to keep that cap in place or make a small or larger cap. Needless to say, losing your livelihood to hospital bills would then be dependent on where you live.

Let people be allowed to purchase catastrophic insurance again: Sounds innocuous, but the devil is in the detail. “And rather than being forced to buy the kind of insurance that the federal government mandates you must buy like is happening under Obamacare, under our proposal individuals would have the freedom to choose the health plan that best meets their individual healthcare needs.” In other words, catastrophic plans would be allowed again, with companies and individuals purchasing coverage that for a smaller monthly fee really covers almost nothing in the case of a real illness. That not only leaves the overall economic well being of many Americans one car accident from total peril, but undermines the health of the overall insurance pools, too.

Reinstate the gender gap: With insurance companies once more allowed to decide what to cover and no minimum mandatory requirements, that means that the companies can once more charge women more simply for being women. No more sexual health care being automatically a part of your basic plan, no more maternity coverage without extra payments, and especially no more no co-pay birth control.

In otherwords, the GOP plan would take us right back to where we were before the ACA went into effect. When you think about it, that’s not a “replace” at all. It’s just simply “repeal.”

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven6 months ago

thanks for the article.

Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

The government is not controlling the ACA Deborah. The insurance companies still are. All the ACA is trying to do is get peoople that cant get insurance, insured. but you jsut keep beleiveing Fox all you want. The insurance industry is the one screwing us over. Not Washington.

Deborah W.
Deborah W.2 years ago

More government control over what's allowed and not, free choce dramatically reduced. Now that the division on both sides has dug in, this fact will not change. Stay tuned until the end game, no short-term, quick-fix solutions will survive, unsustainable ... for a greater good than self requires a change in those we the people hired, now immersed in their own needs not ours.

Brian Foster
Brian F.2 years ago

David, the cost for healthcare in the USA, is astronomical. No one is saying that the Canadian system, for Universal healthcare is a panacea. However, the Canadian System is far better than ours because each person, is covered from birth to death, unlike here in the USA, where you can die, if you get sick, have no health insurance, and you are poor. In Canada, everyone pays into the system based on how much they make. It is a far better system than ours, Not perfect, but at least it keeps the greedy criminal health insurance and pharmaceutical industries from ripping us off, discriminating based on gender, denying coverage, and charging outrageous inflated rates, like they did before the ACA. Like all republicans, you only care about the rich, and think the poor don't deserve healthcare. This is why your republican party must never hold office again. You have done nothing but destroy this country through your unpaid for wars, based on lies, tax breaks for the rich, corporate welfare, racist homophobic, misogynistic bigotry and refusal to raise the minimum wage. Corporate special interest, owns your criminal nefarious party.

Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

For the same reason there are fewer here david. Because speicaltties are more lucrative with fewer hours.

Sue H.
Sue H.2 years ago

The Obstructionist Party of NO is doing it's best to destroy our country.

Dale O.

David F, do you really believe all of that tea bagger kool-aid spouted about the Canadian Health care system?Too funny.

Hell has no fury like a tea bagger's mythology scorned. Not only do countless people in the States die not getting health care because they can't afford it, but the For Profit system charges the highest possible going rate. Compared to other western nations performing a comparable service, the cost of health care in the U.S. system is the highest. It is, in the end, a Loan Shark's dream.

Dale O.

The never ending health care debate continues on. Some like to stir the pot, or perhaps like James Bond, even shake the pot.

David F goes on about the minuscule numbers of Canadians seeking health care in the States, a fraction of the populace.

"Some residents of Canada travel to the United States for care. A study by Barer, et al., indicates that the majority of Canadians who seek health care in the U.S. are already there for other reasons, including business travel or vacations. A smaller proportion seek care in the U.S. for reasons of confidentiality, including abortions, mental illness, substance abuse, and other problems that they may not wish to divulge to their local physician, family, or employer."

"Some US citizens travel to Canada for health-care related reasons:

Many US citizens purchase prescription drugs from Canada, either over the Internet or by travelling there to buy them in person, because prescription drug prices in Canada are substantially lower than prescription drug prices in the United States; this cross-border purchasing has been estimated at $1 billion annually.

Because medical marijuana is legal in Canada but illegal in most of the US, many US citizens suffering from cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma have travelled to Canada for medical treatment."


Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

Government education HAHAHAHAHAAHAHA All your pundits that you copy from all went to the same schools everyione else went to david. This idea that somehow Conservatives went to a different ocas of shool is laughable. Orielly the chamoion of Fox went to thwe same sschools half the people he rebukes went to. Are conservatives jsut inspired by God in a larger fashion than Liberals David?? Did God teach you at night school. Did you learn all the John Bircher shit in a special shool the rest of us couldnt go to?? Cut the crap David. I went to school with conservatives I worke with conservatives and I went to church sitting next to conservatives.
You don’t live in a seperate rarified world. You arent a conserrfvative david…….you are an arch conservative very far right. you are a fringe feeder. Everyone who doesnt agree with you is a communist. or do you jsut trhrow that shit around in here to impress people??

Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

NO DAVID The GIOVERNMENT FASCISTS drove the jobs overseas. The Gloablists did, Ross Perot warned us about this shit. I am not saying we should be islationists but for chrissakes SOME protection of the homeland should be acceptable.

So even though Unions CREATED the middle class power YOU hate them. Ciongratualtions. Apparently you think the 50 through the 70s we werre a communist nation. Crawl back into your hole David. UNIONS destroyed NOTHING!!! GREED destoryed it fascism destroyed it. We are now heading for a facist panet wall the while you afre screaming capitalism.

I worked in a union for 35 years David. I never allowdd unions to define me. I always worked 3 peoples worth of work. SOME unions in our hisotry have been problems. All of them have NOT. You in your stupidity cant see that union contracts are AGREED to by BOTH groups the union workers and the management of the company. Its not a dictatorship. I KNOW how union contracts come in to being. I KNOW how the negotiations go and how hard they are to come up with. I KNOW our union worked very hard with the management of the company. I also worked with the union leaders as a manager. So I KNOW both sides David. All YOU know is what you read in some joh bircher book that hates unions. Stop pretending you know shit you dodnt know David. Sicne unions have lsot their pwoerr the middle class has lost ITS power. I am sorry you are too ignorant to see the parallels.