How committed are Republicans to repeal in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold ObamaCare in its entirety on Thursday? John Boehner answered that question on CBS’ Face the Nation yesterday, pledging to rip ObamaCare out “by its roots.” Only then, the House Speaker told CBS, can Congress and (presumably) a new President address rational and meaningful health-insurance reform in a way that doesn’t put the federal government in control of the entire industry. However, the interview shows the difficulty of making this case without a plan to protect some of the more popular parts of the ObamaCare bill (via The Hill and Instapundit):
House Speaker John Boehner vowed on Sunday to repeal the Affordable Care Act, saying the law, which the Supreme Court ruled as being constitutional this week, should be “ripped out by its roots.”
“This has to be ripped out by its roots,” Boehner said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “This is government taking over the entire health industry. The American people do not want to go down this path. It has to be ripped out and we need to start over one step at a time.
Boehner said that once the entire law is repealed, lawmakers can discuss individual measures. “We can have a common sense debate about which ought to stay and which ought to go,” he said.
Expect to hear these questions frequently as Republicans go on offense over the ObamaCare-tax issue. Broken down into individual components, some of ObamaCare is very popular, including some mentioned by the CBS interviewer. Republicans will eventually need to have a plan to address those points; Boehner mentions the Ryan plan, which was a big step in the right direction, for instance. However, we can probably look forward to a few months of relative silence on alternatives while the GOP beats up Obama and Democrats for their ObamaCare-tax plan.
That’s just politics, but it’s also a missed opportunity. The big problem in the Obama approach was the lack of diversity and competition in insurance plans. Most people with pre-existing conditions could qualify for catastrophic health insurance and use HSAs to cover their routine medical care. I have both a chronic thyroid issue and Type II diabetes, both of which would make it difficult for me to qualify for comprehensive plans, but both of those are fairly easy to cover out-of-pocket for much less than the annual cost of a comprehensive plan. For younger adults who are usually very healthy, comprehensive plans make no sense whatsoever; they cost upward of $3500 a year, and most of these won’t get more than $200-$300 worth of benefits from it. They would save themselves money by going the same route — a combination of inexpensive catastrophic coverage with HSAs that use pre-tax income to fund occasional doctor visits and prescription medication costs.
Furthermore, getting insurers out of the routine medical care business would help promote more diversity in the insurance pool and the provider pool. Providers would be forced to compete on costs at the retail level, driving down the actual cost of most medical care, and creating pressure for innovation. Resources in risk pools could be concentrated on hospitalization and much more rare issues of chronic illness, returning the health-insurance industry to a risk management system rather than HMOs by other names. The reduction in government intervention means that public resources can focus solely on safety-net programs — and most of those could and should be managed by states, not the federal government.
If Republicans really want to win this health-care argument for the next generation, they will need to make an argument for free-market-based reforms as above. They missed the opportunity to win this in 2001-6, when the GOP could have pre-empted Democrats and prevented an ObamaCare imposition. If they do pull up ObamaCare “by the roots,” they’d better be prepared this time to deal with the clunky and costly third-party-payer system, or they won’t get another chance.
In his new book The Great Destroyer: Barack Obama’s War on the Republic, David Limbaugh warns what happens if Republicans fail to take advantage of their opportunity to replace Obama as President:
President Obama has repeatedly revealed his impatience with our Constitution’s separation of powers and its checks and balances, lamenting that democracy is sometimes “messy” and frustrating. He just wants the other branches to get out of his way, because he can’t allow a silly inconvenience like the Constitution to obstruct his utopian vision for America.
Obama and his allies have repeatedly broadcast their intentions in this regard. His former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, promised that Obama would govern through “executive orders and directives to get the job done across a front of issues.” Obama told NBC News anchor Brian Williams in August 2010 that his “next two years” as president would be much more about “implementation” and “management” than “constant legislation.” “What I’m not gonna do is wait for Congress,” he baldly proclaimed in an interview on 60 Minutes. And in January 2012, frustrated with a GOP Congress that properly refused to rubber-stamp his destructive agenda, he said, “But when Congress refuses to act, and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. I’ve got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. And I’m not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people that we were elected to serve.”
Obama implements his power-grabs through administrative usurpations of legislative power, executive overreaches, and unconstitutional legislation, assisted by the many radical, unaccountable czars he has appointed. In his failed jobs bill (the “American Jobs Act”), he sought to create a new group of czars (the American Infrastructure Financing Authority) to manage more than a trillion dollars of taxpayer money for infrastructure improvements—authority that already resides with the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, and the U.S. General Services Administration.5 Columnist Lurita Doan notes that the
White House has also assembled an expansive new cadre of unaccountable White House liaison officers who “seem to be the critical players in so many of the scandals now erupting.” Working under the authority of Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, these officers are largely “unqualified and inexperienced” and are “embedded into every single federal agency.” Obama reportedly didn’t have contact with a half dozen cabinet members during his first two years in office,6 he rarely meets with his real, Senate-confirmed cabinet members, and increasingly relies on his czars and junior staffers who insulate him from contact with the public.
Try to imagine what types of overreaches he would attempt if he were re-elected. I have no doubt that if he wins in November, America will be destined to pass the point of no return in its headlong rush to Grecian-style bankruptcy, European socialism on steroids, national weakness, and the end of American freedom as we know it. It will be little comfort to be vindicated in these predictions, because that would mean that our generation had squandered the glorious legacy of freedom bequeathed to us by our parents and grandparents, and that we would have stolen from our children and grandchildren this same wondrous legacy.
It is still not too late to save America and restore her to a path of greatness, of robust liberty, and of economic prosperity. But I fear it is not hyperbole to suggest that it very well may be too late if we don’t end this madness in November 2012 by voting Barack Obama out of office. God bless all you patriots fighting for the survival and continued greatness of this nation. God bless the most wonderful Constitution “ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man,” and God bless this American Republic.
I tend to be a little more optimistic, but one thing is true: this is the last opportunity we will have to repeal ObamaCare. If Obama wins a second term, ObamaCare will go into effect, and it will be nearly impossible to reverse it in 2016 or later.