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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio and Paul Ryan developing health care alternative



Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Paul Ryan are preparing to release a health care alternative to Obamacare, a proposal that could get more traction under a Republican-controlled Congress but set up a confrontation with President Barack Obama.

“We want to have every American to be able to buy the kind of health insurance they want at a price that they are willing to buy and from any company in America that will sell it to you,” Rubio said recently during an interview on a Denver radio station. “And you should be able to buy it with either tax credit or pre-tax dollars, just like your employer pays for it if they decide to give it to you. And that's a lot better than the disaster we have right now.”

Without more detail, it’s difficult to assess the scope and implications of the legislation. Rubio’s office indicated Monday that things were still coming together. (He's broadly talked about other ideas.)

Republicans don’t have the ability for a full repeal – lacking the votes to override a presidential veto – but are determined to make changes, and the Rubio-Ryan legislation is likely to be joined by other proposals. President Obama said last week that he’s open to hearing ideas but made clear he’s not willing to do anything dramatic, such as removing the individual mandate.

“If, in fact, one of the items on Mitch McConnell’s agenda and John Boehner’s agenda is to make responsible changes to the Affordable Care Act to make it work better, I’m going to be very open and receptive to hearing those ideas,” Obama said during a news conference last week. “But what I will remind them is that despite all the contention, we now know that the law works. You've got millions of people who have health insurance who didn't have it before. You've got states that have expanded Medicaid to folks who did not have it before, including Republican governors who’ve concluded this is a good deal for their state."

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 10:10am]


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