Raleigh, N.C. — Republicans on Capitol Hill are shifting their strategy to deal with the Affordable Care Act. Instead of calling for a dismantling of the health care law, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and others have proposed an alternative.
"The main focus on health care reform should be cost," Burr said Thursday during a taping of WRAL News' public affairs program "On the Record."
As much as Republicans oppose the Affordable Care Act, the plan backed by Burr and Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Orrin Hatch of Utah actually keeps some of the key concepts of the health care law.
"We want to keep kids able to stay on parents' insurance until 26. It makes all the sense in the world to have a healthy population insured under the parents' plan," he said. "We want to make sure pre-existing disease is not something that knocks you out of the market."
Under the plan, there would be no online health exchanges for people to shop for coverage, but the government would still offer subsidies to help people buy insurance. The plan also would repeal the corporate taxes now used to fund the law.
"When you eliminate a 1 percent tax on medical devices, you're bringing down the cost of health care," Burr said. "When you eliminate a 3 percent tax on health insurance premiums, you're now bringing down everybody's health care costs."
The proposal would, however, add a tax for employer-sponsored insurance plans, which cover about 56 percent of Americans.
"Very few would feel the effects" of that tax, Burr said.
He said he still believes that, although the majority of the health care law has already been implemented, it still can be replaced.
"It is impossible to do it without damage to the system that's already been done," he said. "I believe there's already been structural damage done to health care in America."