Skip to comments.How Democrats and Republicans Learned to Agree on Obamacare
Posted on 03/13/2014 2:28:35 PM PDT by nickcarraway
The policy debate around health care is as intractable as ever. But, unnoticed amidst the partisan spin in the wake of the Florida congressional special election, the two parties are converging about the politics of health care. For much of the last four years, Democrats believed Obamacare would help them, and Republicans believed it would pose a fatal liability. Now they both believe the same thing. Democrats and Republicans alike grasp that Republicans have won the public relations war over Obamacare, and they have lost the public relations war over repealing Obamacare.
A new Bloomberg poll finds that 51 percent of Americans would keep the Affordable Care Act in place with small modifications, against 34 percent who favor repeal, and 13 percent who would make no changes at all. In his column today, Karl Rove makes two very telling concessions toward this consensus. First, he admits that Democrat Alex Sink managed to make Obamacare repeal a political liability:
Ms. Sink pummeled Mr. Jolly as wanting to "totally repeal ObamaCare instead of working in a bipartisan way to fix it," to cite the language tested by her pollster. And second, he notes that Republican David Jolly escaped that liability by promising unspecified alternative reforms:
Mr. Jolly wisely refused to defend the status quo before ObamaCare and emphasized replacing, not just repealing, the deeply flawed program.
Now, if they agree on what the public wants, why dont they give it to them? Mainly because what the public wants is amorphous and probably impossible. People want to change it because news stories have emphasized the botched rollout and difficulties with implementation, and because both parties are promising to fix it. Many Americans are also unaware that most of the provisions of the law are already in effect:
And they like all those provisions, except the individual mandate:
A keep and fix solution that polls well, then, would probably involve eliminating the individual mandate and keeping everything else. But the reason the mandate is there is because its hard to make the other parts work without it. Now return to newly elected Representative Jolly, who took care to distance himself from repeal and cackle and instead promise vague alternative reforms. House Republicans promised earlier this year to vote on a unified alternative plan, but have slowly backed away from this promise. Yesterday, Paul Ryan appeared on William Bennetts radio show and confirmed that replacing Obamacare still means voting on a mishmash of different message bills:
There are a lot of folks and many of us are working on various alternatives. There are good conservatives who just have various different ways of putting an alternative out there. So what I look at is, its not just one singular alternative that we have right now, its five or six, but in all of those alternatives there are a lot of common policies and themes and what youll see the House doing is passing individual reforms you know one a week on these common themes, these common policies we agree to, because were not going to say, look here is our big, you know, Republican version of Obamacare, here is what we should have done in the first place and well do it step-by-step and then if you want to look at what a comprehensive alternative looks like, there are a lot of people who are offering those visions.
I thought YOU had our health-care plan! No, YOU were supposed to write it! This isnt a problem of simple disorganization. The lack of a single alternative bill is the entire key to making this work. It allows Republicans to avoid being pinned down to the trade-offs inherent in any proposal. Simply repealing Obamacare is really unpopular, so they dont want to be for that. So they need to be for something, but any particular alternative is going to have unpopular stuff in it bills that will raise taxes on people with employer-sponsored insurance, or let insurance companies jack up prices on people with preexisting conditions, or charge more to women, and on and on. Having a bunch of alternative plans lets candidates pick and choose whatever pieces of any given alternative they want to emphasize at any time without advocating the whole. The public likes keeping the parts of Obamacare where they get money, and opposes the parts where they pay money. In other words, Obamacare, politically, is becoming like just about every other government program.
More of the same from the GOPe and their enablers.
That's patently false. With a Senate lead by Harry Reid and Obama in the White House it simply is not a possibility.
Health Care Reform by John Mackey, Whole Foods CEO
Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health insurance and HSAs is one solution that could solve many of our health-care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high-deductible health-insurance plan. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees' Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness. Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health-care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan's costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of worker satisfaction.
Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.
Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.
Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.
Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.
Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor's visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?
Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.
Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
The original editorial is here: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970204251404574342170072865070?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052970204251404574342170072865070.html
What does the Senate have to do with it? The Supreme Court ruled it was a tax. All taxes start from the House.
I think the best option for us here is to go Trojan Horse. Adopt the “fix it” language but functionally repeal it by gutting it like a fish and putting in the items listed in the post above.
People liked ObamaCare in the abstract, and loathe it in the concrete. Of course there are things Obama promised - some of which he actually purports to have delivered - that people like. But as a reality, some of his most important claims are seen to be, and always to have been, flat-out lies.
This article claims that the Republicans dont have anything better - but then, the Democrats are the ones who created this dogs breakfast, and they dont know how to fix it either. So where do they get off demanding to have a single, comprehensive Republican plan to poke holes in??? The Democrats have no credibility - they can brag about change and they can come up with radical, grandiose, impractical changes - but they do not have any moral authority to claim that they know how to actually improve the totality of health insurance - let alone the totality of health care.The Change! train has left the station, and now its a question of picking up the pieces after it.
The Change! train has left the station, and now its a question of picking up the pieces after it.. . . and picking up the pieces will be a process, not an instantaneous you have to pass it to find out what is in it event. There will be negotiations, and there will be consideration of what can be afforded that is most popular and defensible in ObamaCare.