Republicans are scared to death of opposing a mandate for coverage of pre-existing conditions. They shouldn't be. Americans would be better off without such a mandate.
But, despite knowing this, Republicans run scared because they suffer from a dangerous pre-existing condition of their own - and it is fear. The primary symptom is paralysis, resulting from fear of being labeled as hateful when saying "no" to legislation they know full well they should violently oppose.
The healthcare law is the latest example - despite the supposedly masterful efforts by
Republican leadership to "hold the Conference together" in opposition (insert reference here to Chris Rock - "you wanna cookie?"). In reality, most of the talk and most of the opposition by Republican leadership has been based on things they don't fear - fighting tax increases, fighting spending and fighting "government bureaucrats." But then, their fear kicks in - and they fully embrace a flawed, failing medicare system that is on the verge of bankruptcy, because they are afraid of making the point that medicare itself is a total disaster, and instead promote it to try to scare seniors.
And here we find ourselves today. Certain Republicans - particularly "leadership" - are scared to death of the "repeal and start over" message because they don't want to be labeled as against sick people with pre-existing conditions - a key part of the healthcare law.
Yet, this whole issue is totally absurd.
Healthy people don't need significant healthcare coverage. Sick people do. It is entirely illogical (not to mention unconstitutional) to require private entities to insure someone against something they already have at the same price. They have it. They are now inherently riskier.
Setting aside - you know, freedom - someone has to pay for free insurance to sick people who were uninsured. The result will be an individual mandate because you must increase the number of healthy people in the risk pool to even ATTEMPT to pay for such coverage, and because if you don't have a mandate, it's obvious that people will simply wait until they are sick and then get coverage.
This isn't that hard - yet everyone walks around acting like it's magic. The goal for anyone who values both high quality healthcare and freedom is to make sure that as many people as possible are covered BEFORE they are sick. And Republicans have numerous proposals to accomplish this goal - to reduce costs and cover more Americans, and should not run from them. In the end, if some people cannot afford coverage - then we decide how to handle that problem, through the combined efforts of private enterprise, charity, local/state governments, and as a last resort - the national government... something, I might add, we already do today.
The healthcare bill is now law. We must repeal it. It couldn't be a more clear, concise and effective message. Recent polls demonstrate massive public opposition to the bill, such as this CBS poll showing 62% of Americans want the GOP to continue fighting the bill. And many Republicans understand this - indeed, in the Senate, for example, Senator DeMint has offered a bill to repeal Obamacare, and it has 15 co-sponsors. Great.
But where is Senator McConnell? Alexander? Thune? Murkowski? Republicans have to move past this irrational fear of being labeled mean for opposing some feel-good bill or issue when standing on an entirely defensible and important principle. Else, we will never stop the growth of government as program after program is built on the back of that fear.