- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Georgia congressman said Wednesday he will try, once again, to push a health care bill that offers a “patient-centered” alternative to President Obama’s sweeping reforms — one that includes tax breaks to make insurance affordable without imposing government mandates on Americans.

Rep. Tom Price, a Republican and a doctor, said he will introduce the “third iteration” of his bill to replace the Affordable Care Act as soon as today.

Besides using the tax code to make health plans affordable, he said his legislation would let people roll over their health insurance from employer to employer, akin to a 401(k) plan, allow people with high-risk diagnoses to pool together for more price leverage and continuity in their coverage and reform malpractice litigation so that plaintiffs face a higher threshold for bringing their claims.

“You can do all of those things without putting the government in charge of the doggone thing,” he said during a wide-ranging breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor in downtown Washington.

Echoing a now-famous comment from Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus, Montana Democrat and key author of the health care law, he said Mr. Obama’s reforms are heading for a “train wreck.”

“I think what we need to do is pull the emergency brake before the wreck occurs,” he said.

Mr. Price’s alternative bill, like all attempts to repeal or replace “Obamacare,” could gain traction in the Republican-led House but will face an uphill battle so long as Democrats control the Senate and White House.

On other issues before Congress, Mr. Price said he prefers the piecemeal, or “sequential” approach to immigration reform that is favored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, as opposed to comprehensive efforts underway in the Senate.

He also said Congress, despite its partisan rancor, can craft meaningful tax reform and reach a deficit-reduction deal, now that both chambers have passed budget plans.

“I’m an eternal optimist,” he said, “so I always believe things are possible, even in this town.”

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