WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-House Republicans plan to offer an alternative to the Democrats' proposal for a national health care overhaul that contains tort reform, House Minority Leader John Boehner said Sunday.
In an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" program, the Ohio Republican said the GOP plan will help lower costs without raising taxes.
"I am hopeful that Speaker Pelosi will allow us to present an alternative," said Boehner, the House's top Republcian. "We do not increase taxes, we do not cut Medicare and Medicaid and we do not have mandates on individuals or businesses."
Unlike the House Democrats' plan, the Republican plan will seek to address the problem of frivolous medical malpractice claims that drive up costs.
"We need to do something about junk lawsuits," he said. "One of our proposals is to give grants to states who have innovative programs to help bring down the cost of health insurance."
In an earlier interview with Legal Newsline, U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., said Congress will likely pass a health care bill that contains some measure of tort reform.
"Some aspect of tort reform will be a part of the bill," she said.
Boehner said the $894 billion Democrat plan approved Thursday is loaded with mandates on individuals and businesses.
The nearly-2,000 page bill would expand coverage to an estimated 36 million more Americans and immediately ban insurance companies from canceling policies when people get sick.
Funding of a government-run public insurance option would be bankrolled mostly through a 5.4 percent surtax on individuals making more than $500,000 a year or families earning more than $1 million. Businesses with payrolls above $250,000 would pay penalties if they don't provide their workers health coverage.
"What this is going to do is bankrupt America," Boehner said on CNN. "It's going to cost millions of Americans their jobs and cut benefits for seniors. This is not what the American people want. They want a more gradual approach to fixing our current system."
From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at firstname.lastname@example.org.