Susan Page, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON -- The morning after President Obama declared the Affordable Care Act was "here to stay," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called for its repeal and outlined a Republican alternative to address concerns about the nation's health care system.
The release of the plan by Jindal, considered a potential contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, came hours after Obama took a victory lap in the Rose Garden for the four-year-old law. The president announced that, as of midnight Tuesday, 7.1 million Americans had enrolled in private health insurance plans under the act, slightly exceeding the administration's original goal despite initial disastrous problems with the Healthcare.gov website.
But Jindal, a former health official in the federal and state governments, called the law "unpopular, unworkable, and misguided" in a report released Wednesday morning by a conservative nonprofit policy group he founded last year called America Next. He was to discuss his proposal at a breakfast with reporters hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.
"Conventional wisdom in Washington holds that the law cannot be fully repealed," he said in the report. "I couldn't disagree more. A country that won two world wars and landed a man on the moon can surely eradicate this attack on our health care system."
In his plan, Jindal calls for:
• Providing $100 billion over 10 years to provide grants to states that take innovative steps on health care, including guaranteeing access to insurance for people with preexisting conditions. The Affordable Care Act bars insurers from discriminating against those with medical problems that often have made getting coverage difficult.
• Creating a standard individual deduction for health insurance for individuals whether they are covered through their employers or on their own.
• Instituting a permanent ban on federal funding of health insurance plans that cover abortions.
The plan calls for increased state flexibility on Medicaid, expanded health savings accounts, additional price and quality disclosures by hospitals and other health care providers, and new limits on lawsuits.
Congressional Republicans have voted dozens of times to repeal Obamacare, without success, and Jindal's plan seems unlikely to be seriously debated on Capitol Hill. But it could help address complaints that critics of the law haven't explained what they would do instead.