Edi­to­ri­als: How Repub­li­cans can still win on Oba­macare

Forc­ing votes on pieces of re­form would clear the air and ex­pose chi­canery

The Washington Times Daily - - COMMENTARY -

When Nancy Pelosi, the for­mer speaker who fa­mously said “we will read [the de­tails of Oba­macare] af­ter we vote on it,” was once asked by Chris Wal­lace of Fox News just what the Democrats were will­ing to offer Repub­li­cans as part of a grand new spirit of bi­par­ti­san­ship, she replied …noth­ing. Nada. Zilch.

The sad fact is that there is no bi­par­ti­san so­lu­tion to the col­lapse of Oba­macare, and there never will be. Democrats don’t want to roll back even the worst fea­tures of Barack Obama’s mis­be­got­ten health-care scheme. They op­pose re­peal­ing the in­di­vid­ual man­date, which forces peo­ple to buy in­sur­ance they don’t want and can’t af­ford. They op­pose elim­i­nat­ing any Oba­macare tax in­creases. They op­pose scal­ing back the es­sen­tial ben­e­fit pack­age, or ex­pand­ing in­sur­ance op­tions.

Chuck Schumer’s idea of a ne­go­ti­a­tion is that Repub­li­cans sur­ren­der qui­etly and Democrats shower tens of bil­lions more dol­lars in sub­si­dies of in­sur­ance com­pa­nies and Oba­macare ex­changes. This would be an­other gov­ern­ment bailout of an­other in­dus­try wrecked by the gov­ern­ment.

Barack Obama promised that his health-care scheme wouldn’t raise the deficit by a dime. Not even a nickel. Mark that down as yet an­other Oba­macare bro­ken prom­ise. There’s no mid­dle ground for com­pro­mise be­cause there’s a fun­da­men­tal con­flict of vi­sions of a cor­rect health care plan. Democrats want sin­gle payer, gov­ern­ment­man­aged health care and Repub­li­cans — most of them — want a greater role for the free mar­ket, for com­pe­ti­tion, and for choice. Democrats con­cede pri­vately and off the record that Oba­macare can’t work and the death spi­ral in the in­sur­ance mar­ket will spin ever faster over the months and years no mat­ter how many emer­gency cash pay­ments Congress makes to keep the sys­tem afloat. That’s when sin­gle-payer would fix ev­ery­thing, and some­one at a gov­ern­ment agency, per­haps the su­per­vi­sor of the Xerox ma­chine, would su­per­vise your brain surgery.

Step one to ac­tu­ally fix things, the Repub­li­cans should an­nounce they are uni­fied (if they can man­age it) in op­po­si­tion to in­sur­ance bailouts be­cause such bailouts in­evitably be­come a re­cur­ring fi­nan­cial sink hole. Ev­ery­one sees that much.

Step two is for the GOP to make a good faith ef­fort to re­pair Oba­macare’s most glar­ing fail­ures, by forc­ing roll call votes in the House and Se­nate on the most pop­u­lar re­form ideas. Every week there would be a new pro­posal to fix Oba­macare.

The first week the con­gres­sional wor­thies would vote in both House and Se­nate to en­able Amer­i­cans to buy health in­sur­ance, like car in­sur­ance, across state lines. The sec­ond week they would tee up a vote to re­peal the odi­ous and un-Amer­i­can in­di­vid­ual man­date tax. The third week they would vote to en­able less ex­pen­sive al­ter­na­tives to Oba­macare, such as low-cost health sav­ings ac­counts. There would be votes to re­peal the tax on med­i­cal de­vices.

The fol­low­ing week there would be a vote on re­quir­ing hos­pi­tals and doc­tors that re­ceive fed­eral pay­ments to post on the in­ter­net, and in their of­fices, their prices for rou­tine ser­vices and pro­ce­dures, like a CAT scan or a colonoscopy. Pa­tients could then shop around. Who could be against trans­parency and choice?

Democrats and their acolytes in the me­dia com­plain that Repub­li­cans de­spise Oba­macare but don’t have any good ideas about fix­ing it. Each of th­ese re­forms would lower costs and al­le­vi­ate the fi­nan­cial pain and suf­fer­ing that Oba­macare has in­flicted on mil­lions of Amer­i­cans. Some of th­ese mea­sures would ac­tu­ally pass as stand-alone bills, and that would be all to the good. But if, as is prob­a­ble, Democrats unite to stand athwart ev­ery­thing, vot­ers would know, as they take their dis­sat­is­fac­tion and rage to the polls, which party ac­tu­ally wants to fix a bro­ken health care sys­tem, and which one doesn’t.

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