Karl Rove: Krugman, Liberal Obstructionists Blocking Real Healthcare Reform

Wednesday, 21 Aug 2013 11:17 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Republicans have lots of ideas to make health care more accessible and affordable, but President Obama and "his hallelujah chorus" don't like what they hear, political consultant and policy advisor Karl Rove says.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, the former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush chided Obama, Democrats and "liberal opinion writers" for ignoring a host of Republican proposals.

"The president and his liberal posse have a fundamental, philosophical objection to conservative ideas on health care," Rove says. "They oppose reforms that put the patient in charge rather than government, that rely on competition rather than regulation, and that strengthen market forces rather than weaken them."

Rove blasts The Washington Post's Ezra Klein's claim that "Republicans have no idea what is it is they'll do" to replace the Affordable Care Act -- and The New York Times's Paul Krugman's assertion the GOP's goal to "deny essential health care and financial security to millions of their fellow Americans."

"Mr. Obama and his hallelujah chorus are wrong," Rove insists.
For example, Rove says, Oklahoma's Republican Sen. Tom Coburn and Wyoming's Sen. Mike Enzi, Rove both have "long advocated making health insurance completely portable so workers can take their plans with them from job to job."

"This means giving individuals who buy coverage for themselves a tax advantage similar to the one that employers enjoy when they cover employees," Rove explains. "That change also could make coverage more affordable for the self-employed and even universal for all workers."

In the House, Rove points to Republicans like Texas Rep. Sam Johnson and Louisiana's Charles Boustany, a heart surgeon. The pair are pressing to allow smaller companies "to pool their risk to get the same discounts from insurance carriers that bigger companies do," Rove says.

And Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan "want to spark increased competition by allowing health-insurance policies to be sold across state lines, as are auto insurance policies."

Rove also notes Obamacare reduces the amount families can save tax free for medical expenses, but a House Republican study suggests raising the amount, which Rove says, "paired with health-savings accounts... can put quality health care within the reach of many more families."

He also lauds Texas Rep. Lamar Smith's support of medical liability reform at the federal level "to rein in junk lawsuits."

Texas Reps. Mike Burgess -- who practiced obstetrics and gynecology -- and Joe Barton also have introduced bills to establish transparency in pricing and medical outcomes so patients can compare the costs for procedures at area hospitals and their relative success in performing them, Rove writes.

And Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy, another physician, has introduced a bill to let Medicaid patients convert the value of their government benefit to pay for private coverage, Rove writes.

"Republicans have put these and other ideas into comprehensive reform packages," Rove says, noting Georgia Rep. Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon, has introduced a comprehensive alternative to ObamaCare that includes many of the GOP's reforms.

Rove says Tennessee's Phil Roe, a retired OB/GYN, will introduce a replacement package for ObamaCare when Congress returns next month.

"Many Americans ache for an alternative to ObamaCare," Rove says, but to "dismantle this monstrosity," he urges Republicans to speak up for ideas that "will win because they will improve health care."

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