Although there are dozens of Republican health care reform proposals, the House GOP will unite behind a final health care plan this week.
It will come as the “Republican substitute” to the final Democratic health-care bill. That bill, all 1,990 pages of it, was unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week. Tomorrow, or possibly even tonight, Democrats are expected to file their truly final version of the bill, the so-called “manager's amendment.” After that, Republicans will file their own bill.
Will the GOP proposal be shorter than 1,990 pages? “A lot, lot, lot, lot shorter,” says a well-connected House aide of the GOP bill, which is expected to be in the 200-page range. “There will be a good visual dynamic,” the aide says, between the nine-inch thick printout of the Democratic bill and the much shorter Republican bill.
The Republican proposal will be based on four principles outlined by House GOP leader John Boehner in his radio address Saturday: 1) allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines; 2) letting individuals and groups pool together to buy insurance; 3) giving states the freedom to lower health care costs; and 4) limiting malpractice lawsuits. “It will be a group of digestible, incremental reforms that actually lower costs and increase eligibility,” says the GOP aide.
Even though the bill will be an actual legislative proposal — just like the dozens of actual legislative proposals Republicans have filed on health care in the last few months — GOP lawmakers fully expect to keep hearing that they “have no plan” on health care. “People are going to write that and say that no matter what,” says the aide. But Republicans are serious about their bill; aides expect nearly unanimous GOP support for the final proposal.