The GOP leadership has spent many precious moments in front of the American people telling us that Obamacare is a train wreck. What they have failed to do is explain why. Many progressives have said that Ted Cruz was engaging in Kabuki Theater with his marathon speech and offered nothing more. Sadly a few Republicans and right leaning pundits joined in. But this isn’t true. Cruz offered a mountain of anecdotal evidence to build an empirical case. Hardly what one would consider Kabuki.
Empirical evidence is gained by observation. When we observe time and time again people’s health insurance costs rising, and we can correlate a timeline with the introduction of Obamacare we have empirical evidence that Obamacare is a train wreck. We can compound this with evidence of companies reducing working hours and big insurance companies leaving the exchanges.
But that still doesn’t answer the question.
The reason the Affordable Care Act is such a train wreck is because the process and premise were flawed. Did you ever wonder how in the world big insurance companies and progressive Democrats got together in the first place? Progressives for years blamed insurance companies for the rising cost of health care. They wanted a single payer system or at least centralized government control over health care. The big insurance companies were faced with trillions of dollars in liabilities because of the aging population. They saw the progressive push as a way to help themselves. If they could get the mandate passed their problems would be alleviated, if not eliminated. The progressives saw big insurance as a way to legitimize the takeover. Both thought that by being in bed with the other they could get what they wanted.
Of course the end result was a law created by two groups who were wildly opposed. In the end the Democrats had put so many restrictions on what the insurance companies could charge that many of the biggest ended up opting out of the exchanges. This should have been the critical point for those in the media to realize something was horribly wrong. Why would one of the groups who so desperately needed a solution that brought them more revenue decide not to participate? The obvious and only answer is of course they realized it was only going to make things worse. If there were even a modicum of hope they would have taken the risk.
So what should the Republicans do to fix this?
The short answer is they should stand on conservative principals and demand either de-funding or massive changes to the law. The leadership needs to get on board and stand with the principled opposition.
Because the GOP only controls the house they are left with few tools to fight with. So use them and fight for what is right and best for the nation.The division between the leadership in the House and Senate with the conservatives and centrist Republicans only exacerbated the issue.
The battle should have been fought to fruition months, if not years ago. When Ted Cruz stuck his flag in the ground and shouted, “This cannot stand!” The GOP leadership should have joined in. Presenting a united front would have given the party an edge in the negotiations.
Alas that moment has passed. I don’t think any of us knows where Senators McCain, McConnell or Graham stands at this point. So we must disregard these men and their petty arguments. But the battle can still be won.
There are currently three factions within the GOP. The more progressive Republicans led by Mr. McCain are thankfully small in number. There is a middle group that wants the bill to go forward because they understand clearly that it cannot work. Most of the damage will become obvious in about one year, just in time for the 2014 elections. Thus the GOP can easily take the Senate and hold the House. Another group of conservatives, led by Mr. Cruz believes that the bill is so fundamentally flawed that the damage will wreak havoc on the economy and cost millions their jobs.
This is the group that wants to push hard to de-fund the bill. And this is the group we should all be standing with. As much as I understand the conservatives and perhaps “moderates” and their desire to let the Democrats own this and pay the price at ballot they are missing an important piece. Yes, the bill will fail miserably. The strange bedfellows of big insurance and progressive Democrats have created a house divided and it cannot logically stand. But allowing it to wreak its havoc is to allow millions to suffer.
The Republicans should stand firm until they get some concessions. If Reid, Pelosi, et al refuses to negotiate then the GOP leadership needs to point this out every time a microphone is within reach. The Democrats by refusing to compromise are declaring the bill is perfect and ready to go. Thus they are willing to take the blame, every bit of it. We need to remind the soft thinkers in the main stream media at every turn that this is fact and not subject to spin. If they refuse to negotiate on any aspect of the law then they logically must believe that law is perfect.
The concessions worth fighting for are also impossible for Democrats to defend.
1. The law must apply to congress.
2. All exemptions and waivers must be vacated.
3. The tax on technology and innovation must be removed.
4. The president may not issue new waivers and must meet the deadlines his own law sets.
5. In the interest of the American people both sides agree to another vote to overturn and an honest debate in October of 2014.
Should the Democrats refuse to accept even this it is hard to see how even the most biased member of CNN or NBC could suggest this is somehow the Republicans fault.
This will give the Democrats a win to be sure. Nothing in these five points affects the implementation of the law and if it fails it fails on its own merits and the Democrats own it. This will be a disaster and many will be affected. These concessions simply insure that the Democrats and their supporters feel the pain at the same level as the rest of us.
The delay proposed by my opponent John Boehner was a terrible, terrible idea. It does nothing to help. Simply putting off the damage just insures that the Democrats and progressive Republicans can get re-elected before the damage is done. I started my campaign because I felt Mr. Boehner had become detached from his constituency. I do not support immigration amnesty, NSA spying or a war in Syria. But his leadership on the fight to end Obamacare has made me that much more sure that I have made the right choice in challenging him.
If the GOP folds we need to replace the leadership and quickly. This is not a situation that Calvin Coolidge or Ronald Reagan would have struggled with. A logical, principled argument is the easiest to win.