Will the GOP enter the midterms with a serious health care plan or simply run negative messaging against Obamacare? Recent signs are encouraging for those who’d like the Republicans to pursue the former option, as the WSJ reports. House majority leader Eric Cantor has promised a House vote on a GOP plan before the end of the year, and now the Republican Study Committee is pushing the process forward. Lead by Rep. Steve Scalise, the group has put together a plan (one of many) and wants to bring it to a vote sooner rather than later:
Mr. Scalise and others in his group said they aren’t insisting GOP leaders bring their bill to the floor. Rather, they want to remind leaders that it is one option among many proposed GOP health bills—and that, with 130 co-sponsors, it already has the support of a majority of House Republicans. “We want to show there is a critical mass behind a bill that’s already drafted,” Mr. Scalise said.The push from RSC lawmakers comes as House leaders and senior lawmakers are still hashing out thorny policy questions. Their goal is to bring a GOP bill or a series of bills to the floor before Congress’ August recess, according to House GOP aides.
This plan has a lot in common with others put forward. In particular it advances an idea popular in theory on both sides of the aisle: cap the tax credit for employer-provided insurance, and provide a standard tax credit for individuals to use to purchase their own insurance. Everyone would get the same credit, then—the employer credit would be capped at the standard individual credit level, so that everything above that gets taxed—and the credit would be portable. This delinking of insurance from employment is a key goal for health reform, and makes good sense now that people change jobs frequently. But if passed, it would cause lots of disruption and cancellations in the insurance market—perhaps worse than the ones the ACA caused late last year.Whether the GOP will ultimately produce a good plan remains to be seen—several rounds of changes and voting and jockeying remain before us. But it’s good to see the discussion moving forward. It would be a shame in our present health care crisis for one party to abandon constructive proposals for purely negative campaigning.