Gov. Jindal's Obamacare Alternative: 'Block Grants,' Medicaid Overhaul

Image: Gov. Jindal's Obamacare Alternative: 'Block Grants,' Medicaid Overhaul

Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 12:07 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Louisiana GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal announced a plan on Wednesday to repeal and replace Obamacare, a move that could be a precursor to a possible 2016 bid for the White House, according to The Washington Post.

Jindal, a former state and federal health official, emphasized in his 26-page plan his belief that Obamacare needs to be repealed and proposed the implementation of a range of conservative policy ideas.

"There is a void out there," Jindal, 42, a Rhodes Scholar and son of Indian immigrants, told the Post. "Consider this plan open-source code for Republicans, who are welcome to cut and paste from it."

Editor's Note: Should ObamaCare Be Defunded? Vote in Urgent National Poll

Jindal and his advisers are hoping his proposals will attract the attention of donors and party leaders as he vies for attention in an increasingly crowded field of potential Republican presidential contenders, though he said recently he has no plans to make a bid, the Post reported.

Competing with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's high-profile fight against organized labor, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's name recognition, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's last name, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's youth appeal won't be easy, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told the Post. 

"But if you look at what Jindal is doing, he's becoming one of the five or six guys who could be taken seriously," Norquist said.

In "The Freedom and Empowerment Plan," Jindal proposes to introduce what he calls a "global grant program," also known as "block grants," which would redesign Medicaid by giving states a fixed amount of money and freeing them from federal requirements to provide certain benefits, according to the Post.

Jindal also proposes to eliminate the long-standing tax advantage for employer-based insurance, allow insurance to be sold across state lines, and develop the use of "health savings accounts," which would include an arrangement allowing people to draw on the accounts to pay their monthly insurance premiums, the Post reported.

The plan also proposes to shake-up Medicare, replacing the current federal program, which sets prices and pays the medical bills for seniors, with a new model whereby the government gives patients money to buy private coverage, creating competition between providers for elderly consumers, according to the Post.

"This is the first in a series of policies I will offer through America Next over the course of the year," Jindal said, referring to the advocacy group he chairs, which published the plan.
"I absolutely think the country deserves a debate, and if Republicans are going to succeed, we better have more than bumper stickers."

Editor's Note: Should ObamaCare Be Defunded? Vote in Urgent National Poll

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