Anti-Obamacare legislators have moved beyond criticizing and offered the Health Care Freedom Act as an alternative to nationalized health care. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) spoke out today to announce the plan and react to President Obama’s Wednesday press conference. Like Obama’s plan, Sen. DeMint’s bill also aims to get all Americans health care coverage. But the conservative alternative does so by encouraging free market competition and using existing funds. Price argued that Obama was wrong to say the public option won't impact people's private health coverage: With tax subsidies for the government-sponsored plan, many employers and insurance companies may find it difficult to stay competitive. Some companies may drop their coverage and dump their employees onto the government plan.
Under the DeMint-Price bill, those who are satisfied with their insurance company can maintain their current coverage. Those whose employers don’t offer insurance or aren’t satisfied with their current coverage qualify for a $5,000 certificate to seek insurance on their own, from any state. DeMint pointed to the cost and ineffectiveness of existing government health care programs like Medicaid and Medicare. His bill reallocates money from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (currently a “Treasury slush fund,” according to the Senator).
Opponents of the bill say that the $5,000 is not nearly enough to cover insurance costs for a family and individuals remain at-risk of being denied by the insurance companies. While the Health Care Freedom Act may not solve everything, it does at least show critics are offering positive alternatives to government-run universal health care.