Republican draft healthcare bill leaks

A leak of House Republicans' healthcare reform bill emerged showing a number of long-standing GOP ideas in the legislation Tuesday morning.

A copy of the substitute amendment, which is still preliminary, would write into healthcare legislation a number of ideas and alternatives the GOP caucus has been talking about for years — including rules that would let citizens purchase insurance across state lines and limits on medical liability lawsuits.

The alternative also expands state-based, high-risk insurance pools for people with preexisting conditions, allows trade association and guild members to band together to purchase group insurance and bolsters health savings accounts (HSAs) — provisions most Democrats are sure to dislike.

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According to the Republican amendment, the new legislation would authorize billions in subsidies to states that reduce the "annual per capita premium for health insurance coverage" or develop new programs that cover more of their residents over a period of 10 years. 

The legislation leaked Tuesday follows months of Democratic carping that Republicans were without their own healthcare plan, a charge GOP leaders had steadfastly denied.

But Republicans had not released an actual alternative until House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) offered Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) an opportunity to submit a substitute amendment for debate — with conditions.

Those conditions included availability of the bill for 72 hours before debate, a demand Republicans had made of Democrats' healthcare legislation.

The draft proposal would extend insurance coverage for dependents until they turn 25 years old, and it would ban the use of federal funds on coverage plans that include abortion, except in the case of rape, incest or harm to the mother.

But the bill takes special care to exclude illegal aliens from any of the GOP's proposed reforms — another Republican priority throughout this year's healthcare debate.

For example, the amendment requires citizenship checks before uninsured Americans can participate in their states' high-risk insurance pool, and it excludes illegal aliens from any calculation of states' average premiums or number of uninsured.

Ultimately, Democrats are likely to take issue with both provisions, as many in the majority party have long charged that illegal aliens — who must use hospitals as primary care facilities — contribute greatly to the country's rising healthcare costs.

View a copy of the Republican alternative, which weighs in at 230 pages, here.

Jeffrey Young contributed to this story.