From NBC's Luke Russert
Top Republicans in the House today unveiled a GOP health-care plan, stressing that they were looking forward to working with President Obama and Nancy Pelosi.
The plan, devised by the House Republican Health Care Solutions Group, promotes specifically targeting groups among the nation's uninsured that could be covered by the existing system as well as keeping health insurance within the private sector. Republicans believe that if a government plan were to arise, patients would not be able to keep their existing health care -- despite the president having said that's not the case.
According to the Solutions Group press release, the GOP plan "encourages employers to opt-out rather than opt-in rules, which help the 10 million uninsured Americans who are eligible, but not enrolled in, an employer sponsored health insurance plan."
Employers would be able to pay for this coverage through a creation of a new small business tax credit, Republicans say.
In an appeal to younger Americans, the GOP plan would also extend coverage to those under 25 years of age by "allowing dependents to remain on their parents' health policies up to the age of 25."
The GOP claimed there are "7.3 million Americans between the ages of 19 and 24 who lack health insurance, including 4.7 [million] college students."
Under these two ideas, 17 million out of the country's current 46 million uninsured would get insurance. However, that still leaves 29 million-plus uninsured that are not specifically mentioned in the plan.
Another area that is not touched upon within the GOP plan is cost. When pressed on the issue by reporters, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) struck back.
"We are not going to have a bill that is larger than the GDP of most countries," he said, an apparent reference to the Congressional Budget Office's estimate on the Kennedy plan and other floated numbers -- in the trillions of dollars -- for the potential cost of other Democratic-backed plans.
He then went on to say the numbers for the GOP plan would come after the Democrats are done scoring their own legislation. When pressed harder for a ballpark estimate of the cost of the plan, Camp responded, "We do have ideas about that" before reiterating the GOP's idea of insuring Americans under the age of 25.
Republicans drew criticism back in March after they unveiled a budget with no numbers. A more detailed plan followed later.
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) aggressively came out against any sort of public option for healthcare that has been stressed on Democratic side.
"If there is a government competitor you will not be able to keep what you have," Blunt said. "The government will never compete fairly and before you know it there are no competitors and you lost what you have."
Blunt also kept the door open for the possibility of a co-op plan like the one being talked about in the Senate. Blunt said he would "reach out to Sen. Conrad and others and get more specifics from them."