Surprise! The latest and greatest Republican health reform plan has tax credits in it to replace tax deductions for employment-based health insurance, has a great-sounding name — The Patients' Choice Act, and details "core concepts" that (except for the whole libertarian tax credit thing) could've been lifted from any one of a number of Democratic plans. (Kaiser Family Foundation has a good side-by-side comparison tool available detailing a bunch of proposals that are on the table.) There's lots of elements of the Massachusetts plan in there, too — a plan denounced by our former Republican governor while at home, and which he variously derided or took credit for while on the campaign trail, depending on his audience. Go figure.
An op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal this week (penned by worthies of the Galen Institute and American Enterprise Institute) touting the GOP proposal runs a bit wide of the loyal opposition mark, really dialing up the anti-government rhetoric, and also engages in some magical thinking (e.g., employers who no longer have to pay for health insurance will pass the net savings along to employees in the form of higher wages).
It's all about talking points, I suppose, since whatever odds one may lay on Baucus reporting out a bill that can pass (and, hey, he's been talking about revisiting tax-deductible health plans, too), the likelihood of the House Republican plan making great inroads are next to none.
Update 5/22/09: Baucus offers a gentlemanly thanks to the GOP representatives, saying he shares their goals but rejects their proposed means.
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