Jindal: GOP needs to get specific on healthcare

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) wants the Republican Party to talk more about healthcare, not less, heading into the 2014 elections.

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Jindal, a potential presidential candidate, said the party needs to lay out positive reforms in order to win in 2014 and 2016, and at a Wednesday morning breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor he laid released his own 26-page plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. 

"You can't be the party of no; we have to be the party of solutions. I think we've got to go out there and win the war of ideas," Jindal told reporters. 

"I think there are too many Republicans in this town thinking that we can just run against ObamaCare; we shouldn't say anything else more specific until November because that's a winning strategy," he continued. "I think that's wrong. If we want to earn the right to be in the majority, we have to offer specific ideas."

Jindal has been open about considering a 2016 bid but said right now, his focus is on the midterm elections. Jindal is a vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association. 

His plan's release marks a concerted effort to portray himself as a problem solver ahead of a possible White House run in 2016. The Louisiana governor has already met with GOP bundlers who worked on Mitt Romney’s 2012 run.

Jindal's plan repackages conservative healthcare reform ideas that have circulated for years by emphasizing how they would undo ObamaCare. 

In endorsing high-risk pools, health savings accounts, a premium-support model for Medicare and block grants for Medicaid, the proposal strongly echoes past plans by Republican presidential candidates. The 2012 ticket — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) — based its healthcare plan on the same ideas. 

A former state and federal health official, Jindal said his plan would lower healthcare costs, protect the most vulnerable, and expand portability and choice in healthcare. 

In a play for conservative voters, he emphasized what it would do to ObamaCare.

“Four years after being enacted into law, Obamacare’s massive government overreach and higher taxes continue to wreak havoc on the American economy and healthcare system,” the plan says. “The unpopular, unworkable, and misguided law should be repealed in its entirety.”

The advocacy group America Next, which Jindal chairs, published the plan, titled, “The Freedom and Empowerment Plan: The Prescription for Conservative Consumer-Focused Health Reform.”

— Rebecca Shabad and Elise Viebeck contributed. 

— This post was updated at 11:53 a.m. 

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