There are, winding their way through the House and Senate, several Republican proposals to fix or ameliorate the effects of Obamacare.
I get the desire to message. The Republicans are always messaging. Heck, back in 2009, the GOP offered up a series of amendments to contrast Republican ideas on healthcare to Democrat ideas. Senator John Kyl, then the Republican Senate Whip, went on Bill Bennett’s radio show to talk about the GOP effort to stop Obamacare and said,
“I think we can be fairly upfront about it. Our strategy is not actually to delay and not take votes. . . .Our strategy is to have a lot of good amendments and highlight the problems in the bill,” and “it is not our strategy to somehow slow things down.”
Thus the GOP hit on the strategy of “messaging” Obamacare to death. They refused to fight to the bitter end.
Now, with Obamacare failing and people hurting, the GOP has decided to message it to death again. House Republicans and, separately, Senate Republicans want votes on a series of measures designed to alleviate the pain of Obamacare. Some of them force insurance companies to behave in ways government should never force private businesses to behave. More so, some of the Republican measures behave in much of the same high-handed way Obamacare behaves, just to different ends.
The Republican messaging, likewise, is muddy. Some of them seem to suggest the problem is with the insurance companies and not with Obamacare.
I do understand the desire to message against Obamacare, but the history of the GOP messaging against Obamacare has been one of muddled messiness and incoherence.
It seems the message should be quite easy — government does not do comprehensive well. Obamacare is held together with legislative and regulatory duct tape. The only way to fix it is to repeal it and start over. That’s it.
Telling people there is a way to keep their health insurance assumes insurance companies would restore those things already undone. Congress forcing insurance companies to do that would be a bridge too far over into the Democrats’ own socialism.
Obamacare cannot be fixed. Its damage cannot be mitigated. It can only be repealed. The GOP’s strategy should be to stick a repeal provision on every piece of legislation from now till Kingdom come — or at least till November 2014 — and watch red state Democrats in the House and Senate sweat.