Unveiling his healthcare plan as an alternative to Obamacare, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said on Wednesday he has no problem with others in the GOP coming up with alternative plans of their own.
"It's a good problem to have," Jindal, vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a potential Republican presidential candidate, told Newsmax. "And it's very important to have more folks talking about it. We need more."
Jindal was in Washington, D.C., to unveil his own "America Next" healthcare plan at a press breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
Characterized by Jindal as a "prescription for conservative consumer-focused healthcare reform," America Next has 16 points that include increased usage of Health Savings Accounts, ending waste, lawsuit reform, and "more competition at the state level."
The plan also includes greater incentives for "wellness" programs, which Jindal says "go much further than the wellness activities contained in Obamacare."
America Next, Jindal added, also includes the Hyde Amendment language restricting the use of tax dollars for abortion and avoids the conflict of religious conscience issues that are now being argued before the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case.
To Newsmax's question about whether his plan would clash with a similar healthcare alternative crafted by Rep. Tom Price or still another plan offered by Rep. Paul Broun, both Georgia Republicans and physicians, Jindal said no.
"For too long, [Republicans] have been viewed as addressing only issues such as taxes or foreign policy," he added. "If anyone has the courage of convictions about a plan that works better, then say it."
Jindal, who has spent much of his professional life dealing with health-related issues, said that "more Republicans talking about healthcare" is a sharp contrast to the White House "putting a lot of pressure on Democratic senators to stay supportive of Obamacare" as it is.
"We can't be the party of 'no solution,'" Jindal emphasized. "Margaret Thatcher once said, 'We have to win the debate of ideas before we win the election.'"
But like Price and other House Republicans, the Louisianan did make it clear that replacing Obamacare with an alternative such as America Next would first involve a repeal of the president's plan. Anything short of outright repeal, he said, "is ridiculous."
As for running for president in 2016, Jindal told the breakfast: "It's something I'm thinking about."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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