Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks’ endorsements of Graves’ plan.
Amid growing concerns that House Republicans will be unable to find the votes to pass a Continuing Resolution to before the end of the month, Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) has proposed a measure that would keep the government open while also delaying implementation of ObamaCare until 2015.
House Republicans leaders tried some legislative trickery by proposing a Continuing Resolution that wouldn’t defund ObamaCare. Division in the party’s ranks caused the leaders to delay a vote on the measure and threaten the cancelation of the September recess.
“After weeks of working with and listening to members on how to approach the government funding deadline, it’s clear that House Republicans are united around two goals: keeping the government open and protecting our constituents from the harmful effects of Obamacare,” said Graves, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “Today, my 42 cosponsors and I are putting forward a plan that achieves both goals.”
Graves says the plan is “straightforward.” The measure funds the government a post-sequester levels, with the exception of defense and national security, while keeping true to House Republicans’ desire to delay and defund ObamaCare.
Over the last six years, I’ve been watching Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) very closely. Back in 2008, Chambliss faced a tough challenge in a three-way, finding himself in a runoff against Jim Martin, a liberal Democrat.
Part of the problem was campaign organization. Insider Advantage quoted an unidentified Republican who said that Chambliss and company had the organization of a “bad state House race,” calling it a “embarrassing campaign.” There was also the perception of Chambliss among Georgia Republicans. Insider Advantage again quoted a unidentified Republican who said, “Saxby’s reputation is that he’s spent six years in Washington playing golf. He’s gone on lots of trips. He hasn’t done the down-and-dirty constituent work.”
“Saxby bragged about it his first four years – how much golf he was getting in. It was a real problem and it irked a lot of people,” said the unnamed Republican source. Many Republicans in the state were less than thrilled with Chambliss, who hadn’t been able to endear himself to the state party the way Sen. Johnny Isakson had.
Another issue that hurt Chambliss was that he had lost the support of many fiscal conservatives in Georgia because of his votes that put taxpayers at risk.
The Obama administration’s latest employer mandate delay is causing some to question their support of the law, or at the very least, express frustration with the way in which President Obama’s signature domestic achievement has been implemented.
Among those expressing frustration is Ron Fournier, the senior political columnist at the National Journal.
In a column yesterday, Fournier explained that he is “getting sick of defending Obamacare,” pointing the White House’s politicization of the law, the thoughtless manner in which it was implemented, and changes and delays of various regulations. The journalist also made some of the same comments on Fox News on Monday evening.
“Advocates for a strong executive branch, including me, have given the White House a pass on its rule-making authority, because implementing such a complicated law requires flexibility,” Fournier wrote. “But the law may be getting stretched to the point of breaking. Think of the [Affordable Care Act] as a game of Jenga: Adjust one piece and the rest are affected; adjust too many and it falls.”
“If not illegal,” he continued, “the changes are fueling suspicion among Obama-loathing conservatives, and confusion among the rest of us. Even the law’s most fervent supporters are frustrated,” latter adding that he falls in the “frustrated category.”
Amid conservative complaints that Republicans are retreating on Obamacare repeal, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters on Thursday that House Republicans would reveal their healthcare plan this year.
“It’s one of the big issues for conversation in terms of our agenda for this year, and I think you’ll see Republicans come forward with a plan to replace ObamaCare,” said Boehner, according to The Hill, adding that the proposal would “actually reduce costs for the American people and make health insurance more accessible.”
Republicans have been criticized by President Barack Obama and Democrats for not proposing alternatives to Obamacare. Despite those criticism, several Republican members and the conservative Republican Study Committee have offered proposals which would repeal and replace Obamacare. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is reportedly working on his own set of healthcare reforms.
Boehner’s comments came the same day Erick Erickson, editor of RedState.com, accused Republicans of “laying the groundwork to abandon their opposition to Obamacare” because of pressure from outside influences, referring to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Main Street Partnership.
Since the beginning of the healthcare reform debate in 2009, President Barack Obama has frequently told the American public that Republicans don’t have alternatives to the Affordable Care Act, known to most as “Obamacare.”
But that’s not true. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) has, for the third consecutive Congress, proposed the Empowering Patients First Act, a comprehensive alternative that addresses some of the main issues current facing the American healthcare system, including cost and access to quality healthcare.
Price’s approach to healthcare is unique. He spent nearly 20 years working in private practice as an orthopedic surgeon and he takes seriously the commitment doctors make to patients and their families.
United Liberty talked with Price about the Empowering Patients First Act on Friday at his district office in Roswell, Georgia.
Patients should be in control of their healthcare decisions
One of the most frequent criticisms of Obamacare is that it gives Washington and insurance companies more control over the healthcare system. Price, who has served in the House since 2005, explained that his approach to healthcare differs from Obamacare because it would put crucial healthcare decisions back in the hands of patients.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) recently introduced legislation that would repeal Obamacare and replace the unpopular law with patient-centered reforms to lessen healthcare costs and offer consumers more choice.
Based on reforms introduced earlier this year by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), McCain introduced the measure last week before the Senate adjourned for its holiday break.
“I am introducing the Empowering Patients First Act, companion legislation to H.R. 2300, which was introduced in the House by Congressman Tom Price,” said McCain last week in a press statement. “I thank Congressman Price for all of his hard work on this legislation.”
“The Empowering Patients First Act would give patients and their doctors the power to make medical decisions, not Washington,” he said. “There is no doubt that Obamacare is failing, and it is time for Congress to consider our alternatives.”
The Empowering Patients First Act would provide Americans with tax incentives for maintaining health insurance coverage, improve access to health savings accounts (HSAs), reform Medicare and Medicaid, and allow consumers to purchase plans across state lines. It would also guarantee coverage for roughly 1% of Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) wants to serve as the next chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the powerful tax-writing committee, when the next Congress is seated in 2015, according to Politico:
Paul Ryan will seek to become the next chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, a move that would bring instant star power to the cause of tax reform while complicating his presidential ambitions.
The House Budget Committee chairman intends to replace Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) when term-limit restrictions force Camp to step down in 2015, Ryan told The Wall Street Journal.
“That is my plan,” he said in an interview with the newspaper.
The move would give Ryan, his party’s 2012 vice presidential candidate and perhaps the most popular Republican in Congress, a prime perch to pursue his long-standing interest in tax and entitlement reform. That could bring a jolt of energy to the push to overhaul the tax code for the first time in a generation, an effort led by Camp that has foundered amid widespread ambivalence among rank-and-file lawmakers.
If Ryan takes on tax reform in earnest, the move may also signal Ryan is not planning on running for president in 2016.
Ryan was term-limited from serving as chairman of the Budget Committee after the last Congress, but he was given a waiver that allowed him to stick around for one more term.
Legislation offered by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered healthcare reform would save taxpayers nearly $2.34 trillion over the next 10 years, according to an independent analysis by a former Congressional Budget Office director.
The Empowering Patients First Act, H.R. 2300, would provide Americans with tax incentives for maintaining health insurance coverage, improve access to health savings accounts (HSAs), reform Medicare and Medicaid, and allow consumers to purchase plans across state lines. It would also guarantee coverage for roughly 1% of Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who served as director of the CBO from 2003 to 2005, and Stephen Parente estimated that these reforms will reduce health insurance premiums almost across the board and reduce the budget deficit by nearly $2.34 trillion in the 10-year budget window from 2014 to 2023.
“H.R. 2300 would lead to smaller premium increases on average when compared to current law. The largest reductions would occur in narrow network and high PPO insurance products,” wrote Holtz-Eakin and Parente at the American Action Forum.
“The number of insured individuals would increase by 29 percent in 2016, a smaller net increase than current law by 3 percentage points. Over ten years, H.R. 2300 would yield a net savings of $2,337 billion,” they added.
The Obamacare disaster has put Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is a tough spot. Not only is he finding discontent from vulnerable Democrats who are fearing for their political futures, Nevada’s largest paper is calling on Reid to consider Republican healthcare ideas because of the Obamacare “meltdown.”
The Las Vegas Journal-Review isn’t buying lines from President Barack Obama and other congressional Democrats who claim that Republicans who oppose the law don’t have any healthcare policy alternatives. The paper points to a comprehensive reform package introduced by Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-GA) with a number of ideas from which to draw.
“Rep. Price’s plan is lacking in paper weight — it’s 250 pages, compared with the more than 2,000 pages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its accompanying thousands more pages of regulations — but it’s heavy on ideas that would make health insurance and medical care more affordable,” wrote the Journal-Review’s editorial board.
Since the disastrous Obamacare at the beginning of October, some administration officials, congressional Democrats, pundits friendly to President Obama have been, unbelievably, trying to place some blame on Republicans for the problems. They’ve also countered the attempts to repeal or delay the Obamacare with the line that Republicans haven’t offered any ideas or alternatives to this administration’s ill-conceived law.
But that’s not true, as George Will explained on Tuesday night during an appearance on Fox News’ Special Report. Republicans have offered alternatives to Obamacare, and they’ve pushed these ideas for several years.
“I think it’s unfair [to say Republicans don’t have healthcare ideas]. Paul Ryan has a premium support plan, John McCain, amazingly, got it right in 2008,” noted Will, a conservative Washington Post columnist. “[H]e said, look, tax all employer-provided health insurance as what it manifestly is, compensation, but compensate for that by giving people a large tax credit to go into the market and shop across state lines, which you’re not allowed to do now, for health insurance.”