Republicans begin looking for their own health care reforms

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said the fundamentals of the health care law are too "chaotic" to be fixed.

Republicans are increasingly focused on developing their own reforms to the U.S. healthcare system as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act even as the administration has indicated that HealthCare.gov, the federal website to purchase health insurance, is back on track after two months of major glitches. 

“The fundamentals of this, to me, were done in a…chaotic way much like we're seeing the roll out. Done in a way that there wasn't a vision at the end, just an amalgamation of legislation that didn't have a central focus, so I don't know how you fix it," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. “I don't know how you fix a program that was put together in this manner, with only one side of the aisle, and taking the shortcuts that we're taking to put it in place.”

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, has put many of the state’s citizens into the federal health exchanges even after battling the health care law in courts and declining to expand Medicaid in the state. But he said in the long run, “a much better option for us here in Wisconsin and across the country replace it with something better.”

Both Corker and Walker spoke broadly of “market-driven” reforms, including changing the tax code so that both individual and employer plans are tax exempt. But most details are still vague. Later in the show, Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, said that Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would be introducing “a pretty big set of Republicans alternatives” early next year to reform Medicare, Medicaid, and the corporate market. By laying out principles, Kristol said, “people can say with more comfort, I think more truth, that Republicans do have a positive agenda.”

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., defended the Affordable Care Act on "Face the Nation" and said its problems were limited to the website.

“This is the equivalent of having a great item that you want to buy in a store but not being able to get through the front door. It sounds like the front door has been opened successfully now and hopefully have Americans get access to that health care they desperately need,” Menendez said, pointing to provisions that will prevent people with preexisting conditions from being denied health insurance and removing lifetime caps on coverage. “These are the advantages of the programs no one speaks about.”

He said that for that reason, Democratic senators “will be in a great position to say…we are doing dramatic changes that help you be able to meet the challenges for your family of healthcare and eliminate some of the greatest evils that existed under the previous system.”

  • Rebecca Kaplan On Twitter»

    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.

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