WASHINGTON (AP) — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, on Wednesday offered a Republican alternative to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, saying states should play a greater role in containing health care costs while giving consumers more flexibility in choosing insurance plans.
Jindal said Obama's health care law should be "repealed in its entirety" but said Republicans need to offer a better way to reform the health care system, wading into one of the most contentious policy issues in the upcoming midterm elections.
Jindal, a former congressman and Bush administration health care adviser, has sought to establish himself as an outside-the-Beltway policy leader in the early jockeying for the next presidential campaign. His plan aims to separate himself from congressional Republicans who have repeatedly sought to repeal the law but struggled to find consensus on a viable replacement.
"Repealing all of Obamacare is a good and necessary step — but not one sufficient by itself to achieve the real health reform America needs," Jindal said in the plan released by America Next, a nonprofit he formed to promote conservative policy ideas.
Jindal's proposal aims to contain rising health care costs instead of focusing on universal coverage, something he called "the liberal shibboleth." It would not force consumers to buy insurance plans but would instead turn to the states to find ways to control premiums and medical costs.
The proposal includes a $100 billion grant program that states could access if they come up with insurance reforms to curb costs. To be part of the plan, states would need to guarantee access to people with pre-existing conditions, a key part of Obama's health care law.
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