FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
The Affordable Care Act is back on the table
The mind-numbing decision from the Supreme Court regarding the King v. Burwell case is just one of many things that folks on the right will cite as evidence that this nation is going to the dogs, and they are probably not wrong. However, in terms of political opportunity, considering Barack Obama has a year and a half left in office, there is great potential for Republican presidential candidates to capitalize.
The Affordable Care Act should not be a centerpiece of one’s campaign in 2016, but if you’re a candidate who is looking to break into that pack of ten for the first debate, this is a good moment to make yourself look good. Perhaps Bobby Jindal, who has the most experience of any candidate working in health policy, should re-release his plan to replace Obamacare. Via Dan McLaughlin a little over a year ago:
Jindal is already a veteran of the healthcare wars. In 1996, he was appointed – at age 24 – as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, running the entire state hospital system, and in 1998 he served as Executive Director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, a Clinton-created bipartisan commission. A bipartisan majority of the commission ended up recommending a “premium support” plan for Medicare reform based on a model that Jindal had originally put together as a Congressional intern – a plan that (in varying forms) has resurfaced in Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) 57%’s annual budget proposals. Jindal went on to work as a policy advisor to Tommy Thompson in the Bush-era Department of Health and Human Services before his tenure as a Congressman and Governor, and he’s been engaged in healthcare issues in his two terms as Governor of Louisiana. So, his plan is not merely a thrown-together campaign document, but represents his long-term thinking about how to approach healthcare.
You can read the full 21-page plan document here, the 3-page Executive Summary here, Gov. Jindal’s op-ed here, and overviews from Robert Costa and Amy Goldstein at the Washington Post and Benjy Sarlin at MSNBC.
There is far too much good stuff that Dan writes on the subject, so just read the post in its entirety.
Jindal is not the only one, but he is certainly ahead of the pack when it comes to policy. The Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 100% strategy of fighting to defund is a good starting point for him, but like Jindal, he would need to come up with a plan of his own (and not just use someone else’s) to replace Obamacare with. Democrats will scoff at the idea, but it remains deeply unpopular throughout the nation, and to take advantage right now is a great way to stand out and get that valuable name recognition you need to be a top contender in the race.
And, that’s what the game is right now. You get the name recognition. Jindal in particular is going to suffer because, while everyone talked about Cruz, Huckabee, and others for a few days, Jindal’s coverage was ended immediately afterward by the King decision, so he will need to work hard to keep building that momentum naturally, rather than waiting on the announcement boost. If you want to appear serious about running for president, then perhaps it is time to take the old Rahm Emmanuel maxim and “never let a crisis go to waste.”
Yeah, the Supreme Court’s decision sucks, but this is a good political opportunity for some Republicans, and they should totally take it.