Republicans claim healthcare reform could crowd out private insurance.
The AP (3/7, Alonso-Zaldivar) reported, “The search for agreement on healthcare may be short lived. … On Saturday, Republicans laid down a challenge. ‘I’m concerned that if the government steps in, it will eventually push out the private healthcare plans millions of Americans enjoy today,’ Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said in the Republican weekly radio address. Blunt, who will play a leading role in the debate, warned: ‘This could cause your employer to simply stop offering coverage, hoping the government will pick up the slack.'”
The Hill (3/7, O’Brien) reported that Blunt said, “I agree with President Obama that if you like your current health insurance plan, you should be allowed to keep it. … But that’s not what is currently being discussed in Washington.” He “warned that if the government got involved in healthcare, it would result in overblown bureaucracy and rationed treatment.” Blunt argued, “Just imagine a healthcare system that looks like a government-run operation most of us are all too familiar with — the local DMV. Lines, paperwork, taking a number. … Or how about another government agency — the IRS.”
Expansion of government-sponsored insurance seen as potential “deal breaker.” The AP (3/6, Alonso-Zaldivar) reported, “Giving Americans the option of buying medical coverage through the government — an idea put forth by President Barack Obama — is a potential deal breaker for some Republicans and insurance companies whose support would ease the way for a healthcare overhaul. The proposal, which Obama advocated in his presidential campaign, would for the first time offer government-sponsored coverage to middle class families, as an alternative to private health plans.” According to the AP, “insurers fear competition from a government plan could drive them out of business, and Republicans worry it would lead to a government takeover of healthcare. … Whatever he decides, Obama could find himself trapped between liberals in his own party and conservatives he’s trying to woo in support of a healthcare overhaul.”