House Republicans Offer Health Care Plan

(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)
House Republicans unveiled a plan today that they say would solve the nation's health care crisis.

Rather than the complete health care overhaul that five different congressional committees are writing, Minority Leader John Boehner, left, said they would take the current system and improve it by reforming Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

How much the Republican plan would cost and how many uninsured Americans would gain coverage remains unclear. Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said "we believe we can come up with a plan where every person in the uninsured has access to insurance."

Blunt made clear, however, that there would not be a mandate that individuals purchase insurance or that employers offer it. He also claimed that the overall price tag would be significantly lower than Democrat's proposals.

The four-page Republican health care outline lays out a plan that would allow states, associations and small businesses to pool together to offer health insurance. It would give tax credits to low and modest income Americans to help them buy health insurance. It would also let dependents under twenty-five stay on their parent's health insurance.

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the top Republican on the House tax-writing committee, said that provision alone would "cover seven million people in America."

Given the large Democratic majority in the House, it will be difficult for Republicans to get their proposals into the bill that ultimately comes to the floor. Members, however, hope that by offering alternatives and publicly criticizing provisions proposed by Democrats, they might be able to get the public on their side.

House Democrats plan to unveil a draft of their health care proposal later this week. It is expected to center around a public health insurance option that House Republicans say would put private insurers out of business.

Boehner said "middle-class families and small businesses simply don't support a government takeover of health care, and neither should Congress."

Click here to read the plan as released by the House Republicans.

Jill Jackson is a CBS News Capitol Hill producer.
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    Jill Jackson is a CBS News senior political producer.

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