President 'Disingenuous' When He Says GOP Has No Alternative to Obamacare

By Susan Jones | August 22, 2013 | 6:35 AM EDT

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) AP File Photo

( - President Barack Obama is being "disingenuous" when he says Republicans have no alternative to Obamacare, says Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a man with a plan of his own.

"The president knows that there are other alternatives out there, alternatives that put patients and families and doctors in charge, not Washington, D.C.," Price told Fox News's Neil Cavuto on Wednesday.

"Our proposal, H.R. 2300, is comprehensive legislation that would get folks covered with insurance that they want to buy for themselves, not that the government forces them to buy; solves insurance challenges, like portability and preexisting (conditions); and saves hundreds of billions of dollars, does all of that without raising your taxes a penny and doesn't put Washington in charge of a thing.

"There are wonderful, positive alternatives. To have the president continue to say that (there are no alternatives) is just not true, and he knows it's disingenuous when he says it."

Price re-introduced his legislation -- The Empowering Patients First Act -- on June 6. (He previously sponsored the Empowering Patients First Act in the 111th and 112th Congresses as H.R. 3400 and H.R. 3000, respectively.)

Among other things, H.R. 2300 would repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a plan that includes tax incentives for maintaining health insurance coverage (no individual mandate).

Price's plan would allow the purchase of health insurance with pre-tax dollars; it would provide grants to each state to provide coverage through a high-risk pool; it would allow small business owners to band together across state lines to purchase health coverage for their families and employees at a lower cost; and it would allow insurers licensed to sell policies in one state to offer them to residents of any other state. It also proposes to lower costs through malpractice reform.

Notably, Price's plan would prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from using comparative effectiveness research or patient-centered outcomes research, to deny coverage of service under a federal health care program; and it stipulates that no federal funds may be used to pay for abortion or cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes abortion coverage. 

And it would accommodate the conscientious objection of a purchaser or health care provider when a procedure is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of that purchaser or provider.

Price, an orthopedic surgeon, says all of Obamacare should be delayed, not just parts of it, so lawmakers have more time to agree on a "positive, patient-centered alternative."

But would he go along with those who advocate defunding Obamacare?

"Well, I think the goal that we ought to have is to make certain that the American people never have to live under this law," Price told Cavuto.

"Now, whether that's in the continuing resolution and defunding it, whether it's in the budget, the debt ceiling debate and defunding it there or delaying for it a year, whether it's in a sole piece of legislation by itself -- it doesn't make any difference to me what the tactic is, as long as we get to the goal. And the goal ought to be that the American people ought not have to live under this law, because it's a bad law, yes -- but it's going to harm -- as a physician, I can tell you, it's going to harm the quality of health care in our country. I'm not willing to stand by and let that happen."

If the only alternative is to allow a government shutdown, Price said, "I'm there." In fact, he is one of 138 co-sponsors of pending House legislation to defund Obamacare.

But defunding is not the only thing Republicans can do, Price added. "In fact, I'm a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D guy. You have got to have alternatives. And I believe that the administration is going to recognize, once they see that the rollout of these exchanges on October 1 isn't going to work well, I believe that it's very possible that the administration will say, look, why don't we delay this a year?

"And we would say, that sounds like a good idea to us. It's what we have been calling for. And we may actually be able to do this in a bipartisan way, which certainly would be welcome to the American people."