Posts Tagged ‘Richard Burr’
February 5th, 2015 at 8:27 pm
New GOP ObamaCare Alternative

Here’s a look at the newest Republican alternative to ObamaCare.

According to the plan’s authors – Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, plus Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina and Orrin Hatch of Utah – the plan would rein in Medicaid’s burgeoning costs by turning it into a block grant.

That’s not all.

Among other things, the Patient CARE Act would:

  • Enact medical malpractice reforms to reduce frivolous lawsuits
  • Require basic price transparency to inform and empower patients
  • Cap the exclusion of an employee’s employer-provided health coverage
  • Create a targeted tax credit to help buy health care

Billed as a “Bicameral Republican Blueprint,” this proposal has support from three powerful members of the GOP in Congress. Once they produce more details, then we’ll see how many votes they can muster.

January 28th, 2014 at 4:36 pm
GOP Senators Unveil ObamaCare Alternative

Yesterday, three senior Republican Senators introduced a set of ideas that could eventually turn into the upper chamber’s Obamacare alternative.

The proposal – coauthored by Senators Tom Coburn (Oklahoma), Richard Burr (North Carolina) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) – is a welcome companion to the repeal and reform plan put forward by the House Republican Study Committee (RSC).

The plans share some important elements. Both would repeal Obamacare (though the Senate plan would reinstate certain Medicare changes). Both limit medical malpractice awards in an attempt to cut down on junk lawsuits. And both would increase access to various tax-shielded vehicles like Health Savings Accounts.

An interesting divergence is over whether to allow consumers to purchase health insurance across state lines. The RSC bill does, while the Coburn-Burr-Hatch proposal does not. If allowed, consumers would have more choices, including access to cheaper out-of-state plans for those living in high regulation states.

On the other hand, there is the possibility that insurance companies might cluster in a low-regulation state, leading to a domino effect where all states cut back on coverage requirements or risk losing companies to more business-friendly states. Stripped down health insurance is fine for young and healthy people, but hardly adequate for older and sicker persons. If enough people are priced out of the market, expect the liberal solution to be expanding government programs to cover them.

We know, because that’s one of the arguments liberal defenders of Obamacare used to justify its passage. As Republicans deliberate on how best to reform Obamacare after it’s repealed, figuring out a way to avoid that trap should be high on the priority list.

February 17th, 2012 at 5:51 pm
Growing Support for Ryan’s Medicare Reform 2.0

Back in December I wrote a column defending a Medicare reform proposal outlined by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).  Unlike Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget resolution that passed the House in 2011, Ryan-Wyden retains traditional Medicare.  However, like Ryan’s original reform, Ryan-Wyden introduces private sector competition by allowing seniors to use vouchers to select the plan – public or private – that they want, with any savings from a less expensive plan landing in the seniors’ pocket.

At the time, Ryan-Wyden was reported as an idea by two policy wonks with no discernable political support on Capitol Hill.  That changed this week when Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced a bill that substantially mirrors Ryan-Wyden’s Medicare-plus-competition proposal.  Although both pairings are so far quiet on the similarities between their plans, this is a good first step toward getting a common conceptual framework around an idea that increases competition.

Not that you’d know any this from reading Think Progress’ headline announcing the Coburn-Burr plan as “Two Republican Senators Try to Walk Back Paul Ryan’s Medicare Privatization Plan.”  Indeed, one has to read halfway into the article to discover that Coburn-Burr “is very similar to the bipartisan framework outlined by Ryan and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) last year and adds little to the Medicare reform debate.”

To Think Progress’ way of thinking there is little news value when two conservative Republican Senators introduce an almost identical reform plan to one announced by a liberal Democratic colleague and the most influential Republican Congressman.  Almost everyone else knows better.  With support growing for Ryan’s Medicare 2.0 reform, expect to see more movement Ryan’s way as the year rolls on.

December 21st, 2009 at 3:32 pm
“The Price is Right”
Posted by Print

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) on Harry Reid’s (D-NV) health care compromise with Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson:

You’ve got to compliment Ben Nelson for playing, ‘The Price Is Right.’  He negotiated a Medicaid agreement for Nebraska that puts the federal government on the hook forever.  This isn’t the Louisiana Purchase, it’s the Nebraska windfall … this isn’t how this process is supposed to work.

Sadly, the “Louisiana Purchase” already took place during Senate negotiations.  Now, taxpayers are “on the hook” for Louisiana and Nebraska.  This is not because Nebraska and Louisiana are especially important for health care reform, but because two politicians from those states were able to game the system better than their colleagues.

This is why our national debt is over $12 trillion.