"For far too long, Republicans have been accused of not having alternatives to the major parts of [the] President's health care law," Burgess wrote. "Although we can all attest that this is simply untrue — if anything our party has a multitude of ideas — one overreaching policy we all agree on that requires action is addressing the needs of Americans with pre-existing conditions."
His bill would repeal language in the healthcare law that requires everyone with pre-existing conditions to be covered by health insurance by 2014. In its place, the federal government would provide "seed grants" to states that could either be used to fund existing programs for people with pre-existing conditions, or to help states create them.
Burgess said his proposal is an improvement because it would not require people to wait for coverage until 2014, and would also allow states to try their own solutions to the problem. His bill says states could enact a high-risk pool, as 35 states have already done, a reinsurance program, or some new innovative method.
He also said states with high-risk pools are strapped for funds, and that additional federal aid would help keep them afloat.
"Unfortunately the current state based programs are underfunded and lacking the ability to meet their needs," he wrote. "It has been shown that state based programs play an important role in lowering costs across markets and in providing coverage options for those with preexisting conditions."
The Guarantee Access to Health Insurance Act, H.R. 6283, is co-sponsored by Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) and Pete Sessions (R-Texas).