Health care has risen to the forefront of political issues in recent months, especially in terms of the Republican Party’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act. In this article we’ll explain the Republican views on health care, the Republican Party’s ideas for health care reform, and important Republican politicians’ views on health care.
The Republican Party believes in a patient-centered health care system, which is based in free markets, fostering competition and driving health care costs down. They believe that a health care system that is run by the government will reduce both the efficiency and the standard of care, as well as compromise the patient-physician relationship, and increase waiting periods within the health care system, as evidenced by government-centered health care systems throughout the world.
Medical Savings Accounts
Republicans support the idea of individuals being able to manage their own health care costs through Medical Savings Accounts and Flexible Savings Accounts. Furthermore, they believe that individuals who have Flexible Spending Accounts should be able to roll over their unspent money each year, rather than losing it, and that Medical Savings Accounts should be offered to all workers, with no restrictions, as a permanent fixture within tax law. As a whole, the Republican Party believes that the more freedom the people have in choosing their health care, and their own way of managing their health care costs, the more effectively the entire system will run.
Republicans strongly believe in a reformed Medicare, which will provide seniors with more options. They believe seniors should be offered the same insurance plan that Congress is, including the option of Medical Savings Accounts. The administrative complexities must be reduced within Medicare, they argue, so that providers will be able to financially continue for patients. The Republican Party argues that Medicare should be designed to give older Americans choices, rather than as a one-size-fits-all institution.
It is believed by the Republican Party that current malpractice laws actually encourage health care providers to conceal simple and innocent mistakes, due to the risk of trial lawyers vilifying these mistakes if they are revealed and taken to court. Republicans argue that a reform in these laws would encourage patient safety, as providers would be more willing to admit mistakes, and therefore patients would be better able to seek appropriate compensation. The most important part of this reform, Republicans believe, would be to open up the flow of information concerning medical errors.
The Republican Party believes in an abstinence-only approach to sexual education, as well as educational plans that teach and advocate for healthy relationships. Republicans are strongly against federal funding for abortion, as they view abortion as the destruction of life, and do not believe that the government should be supporting such an action. In relation to HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, they support prevention methods involving early and frequent testing, abstinence, faithfulness, and behavioral changes that will eliminate the risk of exposure.
Republicans support medical research, as long as it does not undermine what they view to be the ethical principles of this country. They strongly support research via adult stem cells and cord blood stem cells, but are against research performed on embryonic stem cells, as this is an unnecessary destruction of life. For the same reason, Republicans oppose human cloning for research purposes.
Treating The Terminally Ill
The party opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide, as well as any non-consensual withholding of treatment for any reason. They believe that health care efforts should instead be focused on research to treat terminally ill patients, as well as pain relief and care of these patients, so that the rest of their lives are more comfortable.
Republicans on the Affordable Care Act
In the 2012 Republican Part Platform, Republicans spoke out against the Affordable Care Act, stating that the Democrats used it more as an assertion of power than they used it to improve health care conditions in this country, and in doing so they detrimentally damaged the health of this nation. The Republican Party views the requirement for United States citizens to purchase health insurance as an attack on the Constitution. They believe that the financial burden it would bring upon the country, and specifically on individual states, through the expansion of Medicaid is unsustainable, and will harm the nation as a whole. The act was so firmly opposed by the Republican Party that not a single Republican voted for the final version that Obama signed into law.
Democrats vs. Republicans on Health Care
In regards to the Affordable Care Act, Republican views have been widely disregarded by the current administration, despite the party’s willingness to discuss options and bring fresh ideas to the table. On December 3rd of 2013, President Obama declared that he “will work with anybody to implement and improve this law effectively. Now, you got good ideas? Bring ‘em to me. Let’s go.” The Republican Study Committee sent Obama a letter, requesting to meet with him to present their ideas to reform the health care laws. To this day, they have received no response.
Republicans believe not only in repealing the current administration’s health care laws, but also in replacing them entirely with laws that will better serve the public. The Republican Party’s greatest concern with the Affordable Care Act is the exorbitant amount of money it will cost the American people to implement it, and the risk this cost creates to small businesses in particular.
The Republican Study Committee has created the American Health Care Reform Act, which outlines the party’s ideas to reform healthcare in a more effective way. This act would repeal the Affordable Care Act entirely, in order to save tax money and rule out the many unworkable regulations that the act contains. It would lower health care costs by increasing the number of health care options available to both individuals and businesses, which would encourage competition between insurance providers. The act would provide options for individuals to deduct health care costs, reform malpractice laws to better protect patients and reduce the amount spent on lawyers, expand access to Health Savings Accounts, and help guarantee access to insurance by individuals with pre-existing conditions. This act has garnered a good deal of support but, as mentioned above, has not been acknowledged by the President. Other Republicans have also proposed alternatives, which were also ignored. Dr. Tom Price of Georgia introduced the Empowering Patients First Act, which was based on many of the same principles as the Affordable Care Act, but went about implementing them in different ways. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan proposed ways to improve Medicaid for the more vulnerable populations. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan proposed Medicare reforms which would not only provide seniors with the options that Republicans are advocating for, but would guarantee the continued existence of Medicare for future generations.
Another large problem Republicans have with the current health care reform bill are the broken promises contained within it. Americans were promised that they would be able to keep their health care plans if they wanted to, and were later informed that this was not true. They were also told they could keep their doctors if they wanted to, and later found out that they could, but only if they were willing and able to pay more to do so. Republicans see this as a blatant misuse of trust on the part of the administration, and it has caused them to fight against the Affordable Care Act all the more adamantly.
George W. Bush on Health Care
During his time in office, George W. Bush advocated for HIV/AIDS relief, HIV prevention, and abstinence-only education. He implemented the ABC method of HIV prevention (Abstinence, Be faithful, otherwise use a Condom). He also worked towards HIV relief and prevention through efforts that emphasized regular testing, early diagnosis, ongoing monitoring, and the elimination of HIV/AIDS in newborns. He also increased the amount spent on abstinence-only education. Bush also restricted federal funding for stem cell research (which has since been overturned by President Obama) and created a ban on human cloning and the creation of human embryos that were solely for experimental purposes. During his time in office, he also restored a policy that banned the use of controlled substances for assisted suicide.
Mitt Romney on Health Care
Republican Mitt Romney agrees with the principle that having all citizens insured would benefit the country as a whole, but points out that a government mandate is not the most efficient way to do this. During his time as governor of Massachusetts, Romney created a health insurance program that was incredibly successful, and that he believes could be a good model for national reform. Those who opposed the reform made claims that the reform created uncontrollable costs within Massachusetts, but the Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation, a non-partisan group, has since deemed these claims a myth. The Foundation’s report stated that the “cost to taxpayers of achieving near universal coverage has been relatively modest and well within initial projections of how much the state would have to spend to implement reform, in part because many of the newly insured have enrolled in employer-sponsored plans at no public expense.” In terms of national health care reform, Romney argues that the government should “center reforms at the state level. Open the door to state plans designed to meet the various needs of their citizens. Before imposing a one-size-fits-all federal program, let the states serve as ‘the laboratories of democracy.’” Romney also supports a utilization of innovations such as electronic medical records to streamline record keeping and make it more efficient to reduce costs.
Orrin Hatch, Tom Coburn, and Richard Burr on Health Care
More recently, senators Orrin Hatch of Utah, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Richard Burr of North Carolina have headed up the Republican fight on health care. Their proposal was named the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment Act, and is based upon the principle of providing more flexibility and purchasing power to the individual. It shares some important similarities with the Affordable Care Act, such as the requirement to allow dependent coverage through the age of 26, and the inability of insurance companies to provide lifetime limits. When the three senators released their proposal, Burr stated “The American people have found out what is in ObamaCare — broken promises in the form of increased health care costs, costly mandates and government bureaucracy. We can lower costs and expand access to quality coverage and care by empowering individuals and their families to make their own health care decisions, rather than empowering the government to make those decisions for them.” The group stated that their proposal is designed to be “roughly budget neutral” over the first 10 years, leaving the financial burden on the American people at nothing. Coburn commented that they created this proposal because “It’s critical we chart another path forward. Our health care system wasn’t working well before ObamaCare and it is worse after ObamaCare.”
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Republican Views on Health Care – RepublicanViews.org
- The American Health Care Reform Act – The Republican Study Committee
- Republican Party on Health Care – On The Issues
- Mr. Obama, Republicans do have health care solutions – Fox News
- Senate Republicans pitch ObamaCare alternative on eve of presidential address – Fox News
- Mitt Romney on Health Care Reform – Mitt Romney Central
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