One last warning on the dangers of inaction

posted at 10:55 am on March 22, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier, I promoted Doc Zero’s excellent post on how we need to focus on political action in order to turn the ship of state back towards individual liberty rather than collectivism and redistribution.  The good Doc rightly looks forward rather than backward, but we as conservatives and/or Republicans need to learn a big lesson from this health-care takeover loss.   Nature abhors a vacuum and rushed to fill it, and the same thing is true in politics.

The cost of American health care has been a major priority for American voters for a long time.  While not always in the top two or three issues, the health-care issue has always occupied part of that top tier, along with national security, the economy, the deficit, and so on.  That was certainly true in 1993 when Bill Clinton and the Democrats attempted the first government takeover of the American health-care system; it failed not because the issue didn’t matter to the American people, but because the Clintons overreached in their statist proposal.  After that failure, Clinton wisely avoided the issue for the rest of his presidency.

Republicans, though, had a number of opportunities to address the issue.  Barack Obama may have had his numbers wrong at times, but he wasn’t entirely incorrect when he accused the GOP of proposing their excellent plans a little late in the game.  The GOP had total control of Congress from 2002 to 2006, and the only significant plan they put forward on health care was the creation of the Medicare Part D entitlement that did little but to speed the coming collapse of Medicare.  In that effort, the Republican majority did everything that the GOP has rightly accused the Democrats of doing this time around –  such as using statist solutions to a problem where market-based solutions existed, and fudging the numbers to fool people into believing it wouldn’t cost too much.

Not once during that period did the party seriously attempt to reform the health-care cost structure, let alone through the use of market-based strategies now expounded by Paul Ryan, among others.  Why?  First, Republicans did attempt to reform Social Security in 2005 with market-based strategies and got demagogued by Democrats for making the effort.  But it wasn’t really that reason that kept the GOP from engaging on health-care reform.  That issue was widely seen as a Democratic strength, and Republicans didn’t want to engage heavily on their turf.

What we see now is the result of leaving that vacuum on a major issue.  Since the GOP refused to engage on it, they wound up with lower credibility.  More importantly, by not accomplishing reform when they had their chance, Republicans left it on the table for when the Democrats got complete control of Washington.  Had Republicans fixed the cost-structure problems when they had the chance, the Democrats wouldn’t have had the opportunity for ObamaCare.  Even if they had attempted it and lost through filibustering, Republicans could have set the terms of the debate this time around with a lot more credibility with voters on reform than they had over the past year.

One of the politicians I admired over the years was the late Jack Kemp.  I didn’t always agree with Kemp or his policy proposals, but what I did admire was his willingness to apply his conservative principles and thought to almost any issue on the table.  Kemp didn’t retreat when it came to tough issues like poverty, welfare, or urban policy, areas that Republicans like to avoid.  Kemp fought on every battleground, which was a rarity in the GOP, and until circumstances forced the issue lately, it still is.

In the future, Republicans and conservatives can’t afford to forget this lesson.  We need to have solutions for issues that resonate with voters, or else we risk ceding the field to statists with promises of free lunches and bills that no one can possibly pay.

Update: A few commenters object, saying that we were fighting two wars at the time.  Well, we’re still fighting one now, too, and Congress isn’t the one fighting it.  In the four years between 2002 and 2006, Congress had plenty of time to tackle other issues, and did.  When exactly do people think we started expanding discretionary spending for “big-government conservatism” (spending which was not military related)?  Shrugging off the tough domestic agenda items during a time of two low-level wars got the GOP labeled as a war party, which is at least a small part of the reason why Republicans didn’t have a lot of credibility on this issue until it was too late to stop ObamaCare.

It’s not about assigning blame.  It’s about learning the lesson of forfeiting on issues that matter to American voters.  We can’t fix what happened in 2002-6, but we can try to keep from repeating it when we win back the majority.


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True, true! But I do recall some Republicans trying to pull back Fannie, and Freddie, warning of the oncoming collapse of the economy, and were labeled racist for their efforts by the Dems. Rock, and hard place as always.

capejasmine on March 22, 2010 at 11:32 AM

More like Dem’s playing hardball, as always. A game the Republicans better learn and fast!

donh525 on March 22, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Smells like an inside job, an attempt at gaining sympathy for their cause…

OmahaConservative on March 22, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Yep I wouldn’t put it past them, who throws Bricks? Teenagers, Union Members…SMILE.

Dr Evil on March 22, 2010 at 11:41 AM

The time to weed-out RINOs is during the primaries.

Really. We thought we were electing a staunch conservative here for Mayor. But within a month of assuming office it became clear he was a RINO.

The Democrats pretend to be Conservative when running but do not hold a candle compared to RINO’s. I mean the “conservative” icon Sara Palin is campaigning for McCain the most infamous RINO. We have many bad judges because of his insistence of 60 votes in the Senate. It got us nothing first thing the Democrats did was get rid of 60. Hardly a Peep from McCain. But in my mind Palin must really be a RINO to support such a dishonest RINO like McCain. Just like Bush who became a DIABLO by the end of his second term.

Bush and his inner Democratic believes is why the Republicans screwed up. Along with all the other RINOs. The Democrats do not have that problem. They kick DINO’s out immediately.

Bush’s terms failed in the end because by the end the Republicans had no platform to speak of. We were all over the place. That is no way to govern. Thus we lost the faith of the people who just saw us as Democrat lite.

Steveangell on March 22, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Had Republicans fixed the cost-structure problems when they had the chance, the Democrats wouldn’t have had the opportunity for ObamaCare. Even if they had attempted it and lost through filibustering, Republicans could have set the terms of the debate this time around with a lot more credibility with voters on reform than they had over the past year.

Come on, Ed. You know that any attempts to change entitlements after Clinton was politically impossible. That’s right, impossible. Bush tried on Social Security with an epic fail. He gave up too easily, but it was doomed in any event. I’ll grant you that Bush followed up with the Medicare Drug give-away. But, it was simply too easy for the Democrats, with the media’s promotion, to successfully demagogue and demonize just about any idea as a scheme by the GOP to take away someone’s goodies.

But that was then, and this is now. Now the Dems are out in the open with their faulty plan, the real costs of which will soon be apparent to everyone. And it will be costs without benefits until 2014 for a plan that the majority of Americans didn’t want to begin with. The Dems own it.

Now is the time when we can make comparisons between rational solutions and the awful plan that Dems own and Americans don’t want.

Now is the time when we can win.

SlaveDog on March 22, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Steveangell on March 22, 2010 at 11:41 AM

George W Bush didn’t do anything through his whole Presidency that surprised me, UNTIL he pre socialized the economy for Obama. The same people stayed in place after George W Bush left…am I the only one who thinks the game was rigged from the beginning?

Dr Evil on March 22, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Exactly when was it that Republicans did demand politics leave the classroom and impartiality in the press?

Speakup on March 22, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Muslim.

SDarchitect on March 22, 2010 at 11:25 AM

stick to the facts

blatantblue on March 22, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Probably got the idea here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKGdkqfBICw

ROCnPhilly on March 22, 2010 at 11:45 AM

I heard about a run on ammo in Walmart on Sunday.

Related?

pseudonominus on March 22, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Perhaps they didn’t address the issue because it is none of the fed’s business.

Vashta.Nerada on March 22, 2010 at 11:48 AM

We have no one to blame but ourselves. We elected this rotten gang of corrupt liars and thieves closet socialists. And don’t squeal that you, personally, didn’t vote for these bastards. Neither did I, but it doesn’t matter. Damn few of us can claim that we did all that we could do to stop these scumbags before the last election or since. So, it is our fault and our responsibility to halt this slide into statism and federal bankruptcy, to protect the heritage of freedom and prosperity that we owe to our sons and daughters.

On 3-21-10 Democrats declared war on the American people. They may as well have run up the Jolly Roger. We have two choices, knuckle under and accept serfdom, or fight back. If you are unwilling to accept serfdom, you must recognize that a state of political war exists with Democrats, and only their destruction as a political force will end the threat they pose to our liberty and our country. I know what I am going to do. Beginning last night, I am at war with the Democrat Party, all Democrats and all things Democrat.

Para bellum.

novaculus on March 22, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Refusing to guarantee federal payment to every American is not a vaccuum. It isn’t Congress’ job to see to it that insurance is cheap. Federal guarantees of payment don’t lower costs–quite the opposite.

The problem is NOT partisan. The problem is ideological. A Republican party that agrees the Feds gotta pay you to get insured is not better than a Democrat party that agrees the Feds gotta insure you if nobody else will.

Chris_Balsz on March 22, 2010 at 11:52 AM

So republicans failed to overhaul our entire healthcare system while they had slim majorities so we should just shut up now and accept Obamacare. If republicans had done everything possible to repair parts of healthcare that republicans agree needed fixing, we would still be here today with a complete overhaul of healthcare.

It certainly doesn’t take long to find a way to blame Bush and/or conservatives for all the ills of the world.

I’m getting kind of tired of it.

Sue on March 22, 2010 at 11:03 AM
Exactly. Look at all the RINOs coming out of the woodwork today to blame everything on Bush and the Republicans who were FIGHTING THE F*CKING WAR ON TERROR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Get over youselves.

It is RINOs who caused all this to happen, and now they want to blame Bush just like Obama.

There is a Democrat party who will desperately need to fill their ranks after November.

Go join them if you want to keep kissing their ass.

uknowmorethanme on March 22, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Ed has finally admitted the obvious: Bush Republicanism is the foundation to our current predicament, and you all complain about it. Nice.

I’ll add what I wrote last night; To deny God’s principle of cleaning your own house first is a recipe for disaster. We refused to hold the GOP accountable, continually voting them into power despite their obvious corruption and big government philosophy.

Deny God’s laws, reap the rewards. Instead of anger, humble yourselves and repent. Then you reorganize and come back and win with the right principles.

True_King on March 22, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Refusing to guarantee federal payment to every American is not a vaccuum. It isn’t Congress’ job to see to it that insurance is cheap. Federal guarantees of payment don’t lower costs–quite the opposite.

The problem is NOT partisan. The problem is ideological. A Republican party that agrees the Feds gotta pay you to get insured is not better than a Democrat party that agrees the Feds gotta insure you if nobody else will.

Chris_Balsz on March 22, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Well said Chris, well said.

Odie1941 on March 22, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Those evil insurance companies’ stocks are higher today…

d1carter on March 22, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Ed, I think you’re right to make this point. Republicans did fail and leave the way open for these Radical Libs. They’ve been preparing for a long, long time. We have ignored or overlooked all the little things. And when they got their chance, they struck and struck hard. I don’t hate Bush, but I do feel that he helped create this void.

Right now we’re reeling from the low punches….it’s either that or from all we drank last night just to assuage our souls.

But it’s a new day. We have learned a lot in the days, weeks, and months leading up to last night. More of us are awake and paying close attention.

From here on in, it’s not about blame. It’s about doing what’s right. Doing it loud enough to awaken the rest of the nation. We need to make strong, compelling arguments. More importantly, we need to make them loud enough, clear enough, often enough that the majority completely gets it. (I don’t know about you, but I know far too many right-of-center people who, while voting with us, were not engaged in helping to stop this. Maybe DemCare will end some of their complacency.)

I think one new star made his mark in the past few weeks, and that’s Paul Ryan.

If you ask me, there’s your future of the GOP.
Typhoon on March 22, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Typhoon is right. Paul Ryan IS a model for what all of the GOP, Conservatives, Libertarians and Independents together must be/do. We need to be articulate and commanding. I mean, even John Boehner had a voice last night. Ryan has shamed a lot of the GOP. Some will come around…the rest must go.

Never again must we make a halfhearted effort to make the right changes. We as a nation cannot afford another misstep. And if we’re going to repeal not only DemCare but make lasting changes in this country and reverse the entitlement mentality we must be strong and never back down. But we don’t do this over the heads of the people; we do it with our fellow citizens. And we do it through humor, education, communication and entertainment.

We must know exactly who we are and what we stand for…and make sure everyone else is equally clear.

It’s late in 1776. Washington has lost New York; we’re at an equally low point in our history and morale. We must now focus on November, which can be our Trenton and Princeton. It can move the momentum in our direction. And may November 2012 will be O’s and the Dems’ Yorktown.

MainelyRight on March 22, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Bravo, Ed! I completely agree. Ignoring these issues will not make them go away.

Government must address social issues, regardless of party or ideology. Only question is, do we want our government to propose conservative, market-based and private sector solutions; or big-government, statist solutions?

CliffHanger on March 22, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Now is not the time to strike at our own. We’ve been mugged; blame the mugger. More could and should have been done, but it wasn’t and here we are: staring straight in the face of a democrat party crushing everything that makes this country great and smiling and telling us it’s for our own good the entire time.

WitchDoctor on March 22, 2010 at 11:58 AM

In other news, does anyone know the top say, five bullet points that sum up what is going on? When it will be signed and what’s in it?

WitchDoctor on March 22, 2010 at 12:00 PM

A strong appeal for half the nanny state instead of creating self sufficient citizens. How can we do it for them is what destroys freedom. Build citizens of strength able to take care of themselves. Politicians create laws etc to drive up the cost of doing business and we fall in line by saying we’ll use a watered down way of doing only half as much damage. Dammit let’s start focusing on the individual and how to make him independent not how we take care of him. Brave Heart said it best FRREEEEEEEEEDOM!

Herb on March 22, 2010 at 12:01 PM

By the way, defeating John McCain will send the loudest, clearest message I can think of.

CliffHanger on March 22, 2010 at 12:01 PM

I’m not sure if he’s up for re-election, but Lindsey Graham must go too, at the earliest possible opportunity.

CliffHanger on March 22, 2010 at 12:02 PM

I’m not sure if he’s up for re-election, but Lindsey Graham must go too, at the earliest possible opportunity.

CliffHanger on March 22, 2010 at 12:02 PM

YES

MainelyRight on March 22, 2010 at 12:05 PM

I’m not sure if he’s up for re-election, but Lindsey Graham must go too, at the earliest possible opportunity…..CliffHanger on March 22, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Can we get him out of there before he makes kissy face with Obummer on Immigration?

Herb on March 22, 2010 at 12:06 PM

The GOP is too heavy with panty-waisted squishy dem-lites these days.

OmahaConservative on March 22, 2010 at 10:59 AM

..yeah, right. Like Michelle Bachmann, Spence, Ryan, Boehner, et al. Recommend looking at Hinderaker’s comment on the current state of affairs, including what he has to say about being a Republican.

VoyskaPVO on March 22, 2010 at 12:07 PM

What is an acceptable profit for an insurance company?

ORconservative on March 22, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Whatever the market will bear.

Seriously, this is a nonsensical question to ask of a conservative.

I couldn’t care less if insurance companies make 100% profit, because that shows that demand far exceeds supply, and thus more insurers should enter the market.

Economics 101?

Scott H on March 22, 2010 at 12:09 PM

So … ObamaCare is Bush’s fault? Or the GOP’s fault.

Ed… you are mistakenly under the assumption that ObamaCare is about health care delivery to the masses.

As Pelosi and Lewis symbolically demonstrated yesterday in their walk across the street to the Capital with “the Medicare gavel” in hand. ObamaCare is the delivery system for the next plank in the Great Society.

Now, I agree with you about the GOP and addressing the kitchen table issues that effect the average American, but I seem to remember that when those issues were brought up during this last mid-term and presidential election there was a lot of criticism coming from this very blog about that approach. Bush and Medicare Part D is a good example of a issue that concerned the average American that Bush did address to his detriment among his fellow GOPers. Now, I personally think the program needs improvement and more market-based approaches to it but I don’t disagree with the philosophy of updating an insurance program that American taxpayers are forced to pay into so that it offers similar benefits to private insurance programs. As I see it, the problem is in the funding of Part D not in the expansion of Medicare to include Part D.

And the Republicans in 2002-06 never would have rolled over the Democrats with any legislation as was done last night.

Texas Gal on March 22, 2010 at 12:13 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKGdkqfBICw

ROCnPhilly on March 22, 2010 at 11:45 AM

yep
he’s been a super secret muslim for decades

give it a rest

blatantblue on March 22, 2010 at 12:14 PM

The GOP has an awful lot of work to do in the coming years (Obamacare, Social Security, etc). Their major weakness, IMHO, is not having the backbone to stand up to the demagoguing the Democrats give them in the media. Democrats lie with impunity about the issues and slander their opponents: and nine times out of ten, Republicans sit there and take it.

There are plenty of talented people- like Ed here- who can articulately state policy positions and counter Democrat lies. Sadly, the GOP doesn’t seem to have anyone with those skill-sets in their ranks.

Republicans need to learn quickly how to put their message (one that I’m sure the vast majority of the American people agree with anyway) out there- and to emphatically call Democrats on their lies. There are people who believe Obamacare will reduce the deficit and lower premiums because that’s the lie Obama and co. have sold over the past year. That the GOP didn’t slam them every single opportunity, loudly and clearly, was a major tactical mistake. The time for gentlemanly behaviour (McCain not going after Obama’s links to Ayers and Rev Wright for example) has long gone- America is in crisis, facing an impending economic Armageddon and ever reducing liberty. The GOP needs to stop playing the nice guy and start fighting for the nation.

Jay Mac on March 22, 2010 at 12:17 PM

I’m not sure if he’s up for re-election, but Lindsey Graham must go too, at the earliest possible opportunity.

CliffHanger on March 22, 2010 at 12:02 PM

A WSJ editorial stuck it to Graham pretty good today. Andy McCarthy has been reaming Graham on NRO for weeks.

BuckeyeSam on March 22, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Ed,

You are exactly right about our friend Jack. He had his blind spots, but he was all about engaging on these issues

This is not about blaming Bush or accepting CommieCare. We did fail to solve the problem, leaving a vaccum. We should have raised hell when liberals were purposely driving up the cost of care in hopes of getting single payer. They also tax people into poverty for the same reasons.

Jack rejected the Democrats’ War on Prosperity, of which this is a part:

“You see, democratic capitalism is not just the hope of wealth, but it’s the hope of justice. When we look into the face of poverty, we see the pain, the despair, and need of human beings. But above all, in every face of every child, we must see the image of God. I believe the ultimate imperative for growth and opportunity is to advance human dignity.”

“Be a leader.” That’s what Jack told his kids as they walked out the door.

We’re all Jack’s kids now.

Noel on March 22, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Prediction:

The libs have already played the race card. How long before they play the “threatening phone calls” card?

Like the race card, anytime Dems get in trouble this tactic can’t be far behind. I’ll be surprised if we make it through this week before the first one comes out claiming his family has been threatened. And the media will knock each other down in their rush to get this front page, above the fold.

They’re so darn PREDICTABLE!

jeanneb on March 22, 2010 at 12:24 PM

I think that the GOP has been mired down with over-admiration of private business.

But that is over.

It’s time to take the best and leave the rest, so to speak.

AnninCA on March 22, 2010 at 12:28 PM

One thing any new conservative WILL have that all prior elected officials didn’t is a visible and engaged public covering their backs (Thank You God for those Tea Partiers!)while they engage in the fights necessary to win back our Country. All the soon to be newly elected Conservatives are our front line soldiers directly engaged to defeat this enemy. We MUST give them visible and moral support.

The first battle for Tea Partiers, IMO, is to confront and marginalize our biggest enemy – The Mainstream Media! We need to hold rallies in front of their businesses. Pass out flyers with corrections to any and all who’ll listen exposing their lies and distortions. I believe the last couple of years has opened the eyes of alot of people, that don’t normally pay attention to politics, to the deceptive game the MSM plays.

I don’t want to see the MSM fold; I want to see them reformed and to begin doing their jobs. They’ve moved from watchdogs to socialisms’ guarddogs. We need to force them back to the intended roll.

SoldiersMom on March 22, 2010 at 12:30 PM

One of my fears is that Republicans will repeat their mistake of 1994. When the \”Contract with America\” got them a majority, they mistakenly assumed they would be treated as such by the Lame Stream Media. If you recall, whenever an event occurred and the media sought comments, the Republicans waited to be approached by the LSM as the Democrats had before them. They never grasped the fact that the media is nothing but the propaganda arm of the Democrats. Republican politicians cannot sit on their chairs and wait to be approached and fawned over by the media as the Democrats are. Republicans are going to need to by-pass the media. Town hall meetings, newsletters, email lists, whatever it takes. They haven\’t learned that President Reagan began his Saturday morning radio broadcasts in large manner for that reason, Mr. Reagan KNEW that the media couldn\’t be trusted. Republicans had better learn that lesson well before November.

oldleprechaun on March 22, 2010 at 12:31 PM

The GOP had total control of Congress from 2002 to 2006, and the only significant plan they put forward on health care was the creation of the Medicare Part D entitlement that did little but to speed the coming collapse of Medicare. In that effort, the Republican majority did everything that the GOP has rightly accused the Democrats of doing this time around – such as using statist solutions to a problem where market-based solutions existed, and fudging the numbers to fool people into believing it wouldn’t cost too much.

I didn’t check the comments in this thread, so forgive me if this has been repeated:

Big difference from what tranpired last night and the passing of Medicare Part D. IT HAD TONS OF BIPARTISAN SUPPORT MR. MORRISSEY.

Also, Democrats had been pushing for this “favorable” legislation for seniors, and it was on their planks as part of an agenda to get elected. I believe Rove and Bush made the decision to take this popular (vote getting) legislation off their table. The fact that it wasn’t paid for is still Bush’s mistake. In comparison to the eventual cost of last night’s legislation—it’s cookie crumbs on the floor.

Rovin on March 22, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Ann, over-admiration for private business?What kind of Crap is that. My head is spinning on that one.

sandee on March 22, 2010 at 12:35 PM

I think that the GOP has been mired down with over-admiration of private business.

Fascist.

Crawford on March 22, 2010 at 12:40 PM

The answer is not to pass laws to give certain identified classes of citizens redistributed wealth.

The answer is to pass laws to enable incentives for citizens to do for themselves and to build lives that benefit as fully as possible from the fruits of their own efforts.

Edouard on March 22, 2010 at 12:48 PM

It’s a good point, Ed, although we have to be careful to mean the right things when we talk about “fixing the cost structure” of health care.

Much of the problem resides with the states now, which all have their health administration bureaucracies in various states of burgeon. To really relieve some Americans, it’ll be necessary to get control of statehouses.

We can’t leave the government’s health care bureaucracies in place and expect the cost of health care to go down over time. That’s a big, tough bite that I don’t see a lot of political will to take.

We can take the measures proposed by most GOP leaders — let people buy insurance across state lines, expand tax-advantaged HSAs, shift from employer-based insurance to individual-carried insurance — and that will get market forces in there to improve the situation with competition.

But our fundamental problem will remain, and tend to drive costs up — acting against the forces that drive costs down — as long as we leave the administrative bureaucracies in place. Their primary purpose now is to ensure that costs are shifted between underpaying and overpaying patients, and if we don’t fix that, we’ll just face the same problems again in the future.

J.E. Dyer on March 22, 2010 at 12:49 PM

“we risk ceding the field to statists”

Hell, half the Beltway Republicans ARE statists. I liked Bush, but he was half a statist. McCain… full-blown statist, as bad as Obama. I was glad to see Obama elected over McCain so at least the Dems would be getting the blame.

Chaz on March 22, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Whatever the market will bear.

Seriously, this is a nonsensical question to ask of a conservative.

I couldn’t care less if insurance companies make 100% profit, because that shows that demand far exceeds supply, and thus more insurers should enter the market.

Economics 101?

Scott H on March 22, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Thank God someone gets it.

Seriously.

I’d ask ‘what do they teach in these schools nowadays?’ but it would be pointless.

Chaz706 on March 22, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Ed,

You are exactly right. The GOP abandoned the field on the health care issue at a time when they controlled the Congress and the Presidency and could have largely controlled the process and results.

They did exactly the same thing on immigration reform and now that’s going to come back in bite us in just the same way.

Ignoring issues doesn’t make them go away. It just means they have to wait until the other party is running the show, and we can see how well that’s working out.

cool breeze on March 22, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Oh, and I would like to point out that, when faced with a very similar dilemma, Mitt Romney did the right thing and used what power he had to craft a health care bill that was as unobjectionable as possible under the circumstances, knowing that it was inevitable that the Democrats would someday regain the governor’s office and do something far worse.

It hasn’t spared Mitt from unending criticism from conservatives ever since, but it was still the smart and right thing to do, given the situation he found himself in.

cool breeze on March 22, 2010 at 2:08 PM

Perhaps they didn’t address the issue because it is none of the fed’s business.

Vashta.Nerada on March 22, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Right answer, although I doubt the 2002-2006 GOP gave a rat’s behind. Seriously, is this the game now? Let’s answer everyone’s problems with a federal program that incorporates “free-market” solutions…Lipstick on a pig.

Firefly_76 on March 22, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Oh, and I would like to point out that, when faced with a very similar dilemma, Mitt Romney Lyndon Baines Johnson did the right thing and used what power he had to craft a health care billmilitary strategy for Vietnam that was as unobjectionable as possible under the circumstances, knowing that it was inevitable that the Democrats Republicans would someday regain the governor’s office White House and do something far worse.

Just saying, you can explain or excuse any mistake in those terms. It is done to promote a man, not a decision.

Chris_Balsz on March 22, 2010 at 3:15 PM

The GOP gave up so much ground on health care that even some good conservatives are saying the state should “do something” for the poor among us. But you know what? Giving money to Grandma for her pacemaker is not a function of government. To the extent that we’ve compromised on that issue, we’ve created an false sense of entitlement.

The bottom line, and one that even Paul Ryan won’t utter, is that there is no right to health care.

hawksruleva on March 22, 2010 at 3:26 PM

But our fundamental problem will remain, and tend to drive costs up — acting against the forces that drive costs down — as long as we leave the administrative bureaucracies in place. Their primary purpose now is to ensure that costs are shifted between underpaying and overpaying patients, and if we don’t fix that, we’ll just face the same problems again in the future.

J.E. Dyer on March 22, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Well said.

hawksruleva on March 22, 2010 at 3:29 PM

Chris_Balsz,

I’m not sure I follow your point. Yes, you could explain/excuse a lot of mistakes using this logic. But, as Otto Von Bismarck noted, “Politics is the art of the possible”.

Health care “reform” in Massachusetts was 100% certain to pass, even over Romney’s veto. So he could either influence what passed or sit back and watch the Dems do whatever they wanted. He chose the former.

Also, I’m not that big a Romney fan and will vote for someone more conservative if a viable choice is available, but I do think he has been very unfairly criticized on this issue.

cool breeze on March 22, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Chris_Balsz on March 22, 2010 at 3:15 PM

Nice point, Chris_Balsz. I’d add that anyone who cites Romneycare as an example of what the GOP should be doing to “fix” health care clearly has a Democrats’ eye view of what needs to be “fixed.”

We need to get off this “guarantee everyone an ‘insurance’ plan” path. What government should be in the business of — and not necessarily at the federal level — is guaranteeing that emergency care is available to the poorest among us. Notice I didn’t say “insurance,” as if the indigent should have “policies” that cover everything that’s covered by policies people buy for themselves.

Health care would cost everyone a lot less if we went back to the following:

1. “Insurance” is actually insurance, meaning that it covers catastrophic medical events. It’s not a program by which we enroll in a set of routine benefits.

2. People pay for routine procedures themselves.

3. Counties and states tax the local citizens to support public clinics and hospitals where the uninsured/indigent are treated.

A key feature of these conditions is that the government can’t mandate that the costs of non-paying and underpaying patients be paid by YOU as an element of the price of your insurance policy. That’s what’s happening right now. Government can hide the cost of its cost-shifting mandates in the level of insurance premiums. Most people don’t even know that’s what’s going on.

If we pay for medical care for the poor by making taxpayer-funded services available, then we know what our taxes are going for, and the amount it’s costing us. There’s nothing new about this idea. “County hospitals” used to be the norm for providing medical care to the indigent.

J.E. Dyer on March 22, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Yada, yada, yada, neither political party has a nanogram of credibility when it comes to spending. Now, some might say, there is a difference between the two political parties, but the Republicans became big spending, ear mark champions under Bush and when the dust settled there was not a nickel worth of difference between them. However, now with this healthcare power grab over our lives the Dems have gained the upper hand. Great job Dems. And thanks Republicans for opening the spending door for the Progressives soo wide you could drive a country through it. Your credibility in regards to spending was squandered under Bush and I don’t know when you will be able to be characterized as a fiscally responsible party again, if ever. Again, THANKS Republicans for your fidelity to responsible spending. Oh, and Republicans please DON’T CALL OR MAIL REQUESTS FOR MONEY…..I stopped giving to the party after the drug bill fiasco you guys passed under Bush (which, BTW, has just about destroyed the small and medium sized pharmaceutical companies in this country)and I have vowed to NEVER give a dime to another politician for the remainder of my life and here’s hoping I keep this pledge for a very long time. Our politicians sow for their personal gains and we, the public schmucks, cough up the money to pay the reaper…..or at least ask China and the rest of the world to pay for it today for a promise of repayment in the future. Thus, thanks nephews, nieces, cousins and all the future taxpayers for taking care of this small matter we call the national debt; your future is so bright I better take off my sunglasses.

devolvingtowardsidiocracy on March 22, 2010 at 4:30 PM

I can’t fully agree with Ed.

The Republican did act some and tried to act more.

I didn’t like adding the drug benefit in 2003 but we were hitting a point where seniors who typically need prescription drugs the most were about the only people in America without an insurance plan that included some drug coverage. I think politically, they felt they had to address it. They did it in a market-based way as much as possible — remember the Democrats still screech about letting Medicare negotiate drug prices — and for once it was a program that came in below CBO estimates.

That 2003 bill also included HSA’s, which was a big step in the right direction toward higher-deductible plans that give health care consumers more skin in the game and encourage them to shop around for the best price. The problem is that their use has not grown enough to have a significant effect on the overall health care sector (and doesn’t even touch all the government programs).

Bush tried to push for better price and quality visibility, and proposed to fix the unequal tax treatment of health insurance plans that has resulted in the incredibly stupid system (for several reasons) where we all get our health insurance picked by our employer.

Obviously, he didn’t get as far as he would have liked (thanks to Dems and RINO’s), and the opportunity to make a major push was almost impossible his entire 2nd term, after the SS attempt which was upset by Katrina and then the Iraq War deterioration, followed by the final 2 years with a Democratic Congress. Remember, Bush never had more than 55 Senators, and about 8 of those were RINO’s. Kind of hard in that environment to say, “We should all start paying more out of pocket when we go to the doctor so we can pay a greater amount less in insurance.”

But it is something that needs to be said. Since 1960, we have gone from paying for about half of medical expenses out of pocket at time of service down to just 12% now. And we wonder why demand outstrips supply and forces prices up.

willamettevalley on March 22, 2010 at 7:29 PM

Umm Ed, You’re a good guy. Just remember, If the demographics are the same in a few years, we can win back everything and steadily reverse coarse. However, if Amnesty succeeds, then the demographics will radically change, and the GOP and America as we know it is gone. Healthcare sucks, But we have a chance to get rid of it. The bigger danger is Amnesty due to even more legal/illegal immigration. Try persuading a bunch of non-assimilated immigrants on the joys of small government? When they don’t know the language, our culture, etc. Some even resist it with this radical Reconquista crap. Again, the major issue now is going to be Amnesty.

Humphrey007 on March 22, 2010 at 9:47 PM

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