Rep. Scalise: GOP Option to Obamacare Removes 'Perverse Incentives'

Wednesday, 18 Sep 2013 11:07 PM

By Paul Scicchitano and John Bachman

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Rep. Steve Scalise, who chairs the Republican Study Committee, tells Newsmax TV that the GOP’s first comprehensive alternative to Obamacare is "180 degrees apart" from the president’s signature healthcare law and eliminates its hidden "perverse incentives."

The committee's proposal, which was unveiled on Wednesday, provides expanded tax breaks for consumers who purchase their own insurance while increasing government funding for high-risk pools.

"The repeal of Obamacare is the one thing we want to see and if you look at Obamacare, the problem is it was rooted in a completely different approach than we're taking," asserted Scalise in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. "It's 180 degrees apart from where we are. It's much more focused on a government-run system."

Story continues below video.

Even the size of the GOP's document is more streamlined, weighing in at several hundred pages compared to the bloated Obamacare law.

"In Obamacare, you've got thousands of pages of mandates [that] bureaucrat-like IRS agents can come between you and doctor," said the Louisiana Republican. "That's not something American families want. It's surely not something Republicans want and, frankly, there are a lot of Democrats who don't want it either."

Scalise said his group, which has 175 members — about three-quarters of the House Republican rank and file — also focused on eliminating "perverse incentives" like encouraging employers to reduce their workforces below 50 employees and to cut worker hours below 30 per week.

"There are so many things in Obamacare that are creating big, big problems in our economy," Scalise said. "Repealing it in our bill ... and then move forward with the real market-based reforms, we can not only stop the problems of Obamacare but also start to lower costs and address the other problems."

The GOP alternative to Obamacare would cut costs by stimulating competition.

"In each state most consumers are limited to maybe two or three choices. Yet for most products you can go online and find 50, 100, or more different options and you can pick which one is best for your family, which one is the best cost and the best benefits," Scalise explained. "But you just can't do that in healthcare."

The study group’s plan would allow consumers to buy healthcare across state lines and to take a healthcare deduction on their taxes, while small businesses would be able to purchase healthcare through associations and enjoy the buying power of a large corporation.

"All of these things that are in our bill actually increase competition," he said. "Those are the big problems that are keeping a lot of people from getting healthcare but also forcing so many people to spend so many of their tax dollars on medical expenses that were going up too high."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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