Editorials: How Republicans can still win on Obamacare
Forcing votes on pieces of reform would clear the air and expose chicanery
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.