US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Alexander to Burwell: Here’s What Republicans Would Do About Health Care if We Were in Charge

At Senate hearing to consider HHS nominee, Alexander lays out Republicans’ step-by-step proposals to increase freedom and choices, lower costs

Thursday, May 08, 2014Liz Wolgemuth 202-228-4729

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“Republicans want to repair the damage Obamacare has done and prevent future damage.  As responsibly and rapidly as we can, we want to move in a different direction to put in place proposals that provide more freedom, more choices and lower costs. We trust Americans to make these decisions for ourselves. That is the American Way.” –Lamar Alexander

Washington, D.C., May 8 – At a hearing today on the president’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the senior Republican on the Senate health committee, laid out Republicans’ step-by-step proposals to reduce health care costs and increase freedom and choice for Americans. (VIDEO HERE.)

“Here’s what Republicans would do about health care if we were in charge: Republicans want to repair the damage Obamacare has done and prevent future damage. As responsibly and rapidly as we can, we want to move in a different direction to put in place proposals that provide more freedom, more choices and lower costs. We trust Americans to make these decisions for ourselves. That is the American Way.”

He outlined specific proposals from Republican senators to provide Americans with “more choices to buy a plan that fits your health care needs and your budget, and more ability to choose the doctor you want.”

He pressed the president’s nominee, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, to support Republican proposals to allow Americans:

  • to keep the health care plans they already have;
  • to buy insurance policies sold in other states;
  • to buy major medical policies that would provide peace of mind in the face of serious health events;
  • and to use more of their money tax-free on health expenses through expanded health savings accounts.

He outlined other Republican proposals that would:

  • allow small businesses to combine their purchasing power to offer employees lower cost health plans;
  • give employers more freedom to reward employees for leading healthier lifestyles;
  • give governors more flexibility to spend Medicaid dollars in ways that to deliver better health care at lower costs;
  • and help states stop the proliferation of junk lawsuits.

In 2010, Alexander was the first Republican speaker at the White House Health Care Summit, where he warned that individual premiums would rise under Obamacare, and outlined the steps Republicans would take to reform health care.

He said at today’s hearing: “The most important thing we said at that health care summit and the most important thing we could say today is what we would do instead. We say: Step by step, not comprehensive …. Washington is not wise enough to write a bill that makes so many decisions at once about 20 percent of economy. If you are waiting for Senator McConnell to roll onto the Senate floor a wheelbarrow with a 2,700-page, comprehensive Republican bill, you might as well wait for a blue moon.”

He said Republicans had warned explicitly of what was wrong with the president’s plan four years ago.

Republicans said the Obamacare law would increase the cost of health care, people would lose their choice of doctors, policies would be canceled, people would lose jobs, taxes would go up, and Medicare beneficiaries would be harmed.

“All of these things have happened,” Alexander said today.

The senator told Burwell, “The American people expect us to act responsibly and as rapidly as we can. And since President Obama still will be in office for the next two years, if you are confirmed, we will need your help to do it.”

(For access to Ranking Member Alexander’s releases, click HERE.)

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