Republicans release conservative, moderate versions of healthcare reform

Share this content:
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
As a rebuttal to Democrats' healthcare reform plans, congressional Republicans on Wednesday introduced two alternative proposals. Both of them emphasize private market controls over government ownership.

Introduced by conservative Republicans, including Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), the Patients' Choice Act would establish State Health Insurance Exchanges, where U.S. patients could shop for private insurance. The legislation would give tax credits to families and individuals to help pay for health insurance. The bill also would create private insurance options through Medicaid and require higher-income Medicare beneficiaries to pay higher premiums for the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

The more moderate plan introduced Wednesday would ensure that the government would not be able to interfere with medical decisions made by physicians and patients. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is leading the development of legislation termed the Medical Rights Act. It would make changes to the private insurance market and medical lawsuits to help cut the cost of health coverage. Democrats are aiming for a universal healthcare coverage with a strong federal government role. Nursing homes have been lobbying Congress to consider long-term care a part of healthcare reform. So far, many in the community believe, lawmakers are not listening.