React, Repeal, Replace
It has been nearly two weeks since the President and Congress passed the historic, and I would argue catastrophic, health care reform legislation. It is a huge political accomplishment for the president, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. But when one looks at the specifics of the law, they begin to see that it 1) doesn’t really accomplish what the President and Congress set out to accomplish (such as lowering costs, Just like the AP found out a few days ago) 2) With out a public option this isn’t really “reform” but a reinforcement of the worst aspects of out health care system, now mandating people and employers to participate in a system that doesn’t work. The problem isn’t with the level or quality of care we’re receiving or innovation, We have people from countries with socialized medicine coming herebecause of the quality of our treatment, the problem is how people pay for health care, the red tape and bureaucracy, and out of control trial lawyers. This law doubles down on two out of three of them and does nothing about the third. So what should we do? Some have spoken of a “fix” there can be no fix to this law, to borrow a well remembered slogan from the 2008 campaign, “you can put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig. Conservatives need to spring into action and that’s why we need to react to, repeal, and replace the Health Care Reform law.
The first thing we need to do is react. What is the first thing you can do to react? Register to vote if you haven’t and mark November 2 in your calendar, that is election day. The second thing is to educate yourself; facts are going to be your best friend, you want to vote for someone who understands what this bill means for our country beyond just the “too much government meme.” The next thing you can do is volunteer in some way, find a candidate in your district that will make the repealing of health care priority number 1 in a new Congress with a new President in 2013 and volunteer a couple hours of your time, put a bumper sticker on your car or a yard sign on your lawn. It doesn’t have to be all-consuming just a little bit to do your part. We need 216 Yes votes in the House and 60 yes votes in the senate by 2013. I’m confident that between Republicans and Conservative Democrats we could scrounge up those votes.
The next thing is going to need to happen with the people we put in office. We live in a representative Republic, therefore Congress should work on behalf of us to repeal this law. It’s not going to happen right away, President Obama will almost certainly veto any legislation that overturns his, so rather than make a big spectacle, the Republican caucus should work on a replacement law until 2013. 2011 – 2013 needs to be a time of preparation for the Republicans, they need to have a repeal bill ready for a Republican President to sign soon after they take office, followed closely by a real health care reform bill. It’s been disheartening to hear the Senate Republican caucus say they’re more inclined to “fix” the current bill rather than repeal it. That is why it’s very important to choose conservatives in the Republican primaries that will take place through the middle of this year.
The final thing is to replace the current health care reform with real health care reform. Democrats and liberal commentators are correct to a certain extent: Republicans can’t just oppose, oppose, oppose. While we receive the best level of care when we have health care in the US, we’ve got to find ways to improve our coverage (and there are questions about whether Obama’s plan does that) for people who want health care (i.e. no mandate) and we’ve got to find ways to reduce the cost of health care, while at the same time being creative and innovative and allowing insurance companies to offer new plans for people (i.e. No “minimum standards” for coverage.) We’ve also got to properly address issues liberals have pointed out (i.e. People being denied because of pre-existing conditions) while rectifying things they’ve missed with their policy. (under the just passed bill, a terminally ill person can buy coverage the day AFTER they’ve been diagnosed with a chronic disease and reap the full benefits of insurance.)
There have been good ideas and I’ll share a few of mine with you:
1. Medicaid Catastrophic Loan: If a person did not purchase at least catastrophic insurance, Medicaid will lend that person money to cover their medical expenses at a rate of 0% interest if paid off in their first two years, 0.5% interest if paid off by the end of the third year 3% if paid off at any time after that. People who take advantage of the MCL can enroll in Medicaid for health insurance until their debt with MCL is paid off.
2. Tort Reform: Medical liability is out of control in this country. Judges will be given power to throw out cases as they see fit and a person who files a lawsuit will have to pay for their legal expenses as well as the doctor’s legal expenses if they loose their case.
3. Insurance Competition: The Federal Government will abolish all state laws prohibiting the restrictions on where local insurance companies can sell their policies. This will introduce competition to the market and bring prices of insurance down
4. Ending 3rd Party Payments or Small Business pooling: Rather than employers for Health Insurance, have them pay their employees a stipend for health insurance or give them more money in their salary so people can purchase health insurance for themselves. Part of the reason for the high costs of health care is because consumers aren’t aware of what they’re paying for it. This would also allow for more choice in plans rather than getting the two or three “one size fits all” option an employer offers, people could choose a plan that fits them. If people have a problem with that (and I suspect some would as there are conservatives who don’t like that idea) then at least allow small businesses to pull together to get the same good rates for good plans large corporations like Microsoft get for their employees.
5. Medicaid for People Denied Insurance for a pre-existing Condition: if someone is denied coverage for a pre-existing condition; Medicaid will cover that person. After five years of clean health Medicaid will give that person certification of clean health to take to an insurance company. If that person is denied again, they can be covered under Medicaid.
Tax Credits for Families and Individuals who purchase Health Insurance: The problem with mandates is it is a negative enforcement of policy. We need positive enforcement of behavior; and we can give a tax credit to families and individuals who take responsibility to purchase insurance
And these are just some of the ideas. The Republicans would do themselves a huge favor by actually asking the American people what they want and present their ideas to the American people openly and clearly. In other words, they need to do the complete opposite of what the Democrats did in crafting and passing their legislation. They need to go on a listening/teaching tour and tell people about their ideas and come up with new ones. Let’s be CREATIVE in addressing this issue. It’s not just about reacting, and we fall short if all we do is repeal the law, we also need to replace it to improve the lives of the American people.