Ted Cruz has a piece at Politico today in which he lays out a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. He opens by citing two principles he says need to guide the Republican party:
First principle: Honor our promise. When you spend six years promising, “If only we get elected, we’ll repeal Obamacare,” you cannot renege on that promise. Failure is not an option. Breaking our word would be catastrophe. The voters would, quite rightly, never again trust Republicans to deliver on anything.
The second principle is don’t make it worse. The Pottery Barn rule applies: If you break it, you own it. Democrats broke health care: Since Obamacare passed, millions of people have had their plans canceled; average family premiums on employer-sponsored plans have risen by about $5,000; and average family deductibles on the individual market have also risen $5,000. Consumers are paying more for less, and that’s hurting a lot of families. Republicans can’t make it worse; instead, we’ve got to fix the problem.
Cruz is right on both counts. In fact, point #2 that is probably what is creating hesitation on point #1 right now. People don’t like disruption of their health care. Republicans have capitalized on that fact in every election since 2010. Democrats will now try to do the same. But it’s too late to turn back. Republicans need to move forward with repeal.
As for how to do that, Cruz says to start with the 2015 repeal language. With Democrats vowing total obstructionism the only way to get this done is through reconciliation. As for what comes next, Cruz recommends six steps which most Republicans already agree on:
- Allow purchase of low-cost catastrophic policies across state lines.
- Expand health savings accounts.
- Change the tax laws to make insurance portable.
- Protect continuous coverage.
- Small business pools and high-risk pools for states.
- Block grant Medicaid to the states.
He concludes, “The test for success should be simple: Did health care become more affordable? Do consumers have more choices? Do patients have more control over their families’ health care?”
The other alternative is to offer some plan to “fix” Obamacare. Some polls show that has become a popular option, but there is no “fix” for the exchanges which doesn’t leave the subsidies and the mandate in place. Obamacare can’t be scaled back. It’s failing with the resources it has now. Efforts to shrink it would only make it fail more quickly.
At most, Republicans can fiddle around the edges and claim they fixed the program but the next time Democrats hold power in Congress you can bet there will be another big expansion as the left keeps trudging down the path toward single-payer. The best way to stop that from happening is to end it, don’t mend it.