How many plans will it take till there’s enough to satisfy Democrats, the press—and their Republican enablers?
I’m gonna lead with another Jonah tweet (see yesterday’s rant on the illogic of this kind of thing, Does the GOP really need ‘a clear plan of their own’?):
We’ve had alternative plans out the wazzoo regarding healthcare for years now.
Ramesh Ponnuru leads us to one of the latest. Actually to a set of proposals (Defending another R.P.):
Jeffrey Anderson faults RNC chairman Reince Priebus for not offering a sufficient alternative to Obamacare.
Priebus listed six discrete policy proposals. But the combination of those proposals wouldn’t give every American “access to quality, affordable health care.” Instead, they would leave open a political hole big enough to drive a liberal truck — or an entire fleet of Toyota Priuses — through it. All that an Obamacare supporter would have to do is ask this question: Under the Republicans’ proposal, what would happen to someone who was made eligible for Medicaid because of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, or someone who gets the most lavish taxpayer-funded Obamacare subsidies because he or she has an income that’s just above the Medicaid line? Under Priebus’s proposals, the answer would be: They’d get very little or nothing — an answer that almost certainly won’t lead to full repeal.
I don’t think that’s quite right. Priebus’s fifth proposal was to restructure the tax code’s treatment of health insurance to make it friendlier to the development of a free market in health coverage. Done the right way, I think that would, in combination with some of the other proposals on Priebus’s list, let at least as many Americans get covered as Obamacare. Priebus is not specific about how the tax code could be changed, and I’d recommend that he take a look at how Anderson’s 2017 Project handles the issue in its proposal. But I suppose Priebus can’t really make a public endorsement of that approach until more Republican lawmakers get on board. Which they should do.
Here’s a snip from the Priebus article Ramesh was referring to (RNC Chairman: Obamacare still stinks):
Or as DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz phrased it on CNN’s Crossfire a couple months ago, “What is the Republican solution? … What is the solution to ensuring that everybody in America has access to quality, affordable healthcare?”
Why aren’t GOP ‘thinkers’ hammering away at this Democrat/press meme?
Well, here’s one who is.
He just nails the wrong-headed narrative that both Democratic operatives and the press are ossified in:
Their worldview hasn’t been vindicated. So their feeble defense is something-is-better-than-nothing. They’re saying in effect, “Obamacare may be bad, but at least it’s better than no plan.”
You could easily argue that’s a false statement, but more importantly that’s a false choice. It was never a choice between Obamacare and nothing. It was a choice between healthcare reform that gave more power to the federal government (the Democrats’ preference) or healthcare reform that gave more power to the consumer (the Republican way).
And I agree with Ramesh that the key proposal is number 5:
Fifth, others suggest we restructure the tax code so that Americans buying individual plans get tax deductions, putting them on a more level playing field with those who receive health insurance from their employers.
I’m not a policy wonk by any means, but even I knew—from my own experience seeking more affordable healthcare than my employer was able to offer—exactly the barrier that tax breaks for employers and not employees puts in the way of universal healthcare.
Doing this one thing, even if it was the only thing, would’ve done far more than Obamacare to extend healthcare to the uninsured.
Why is this so hard for so many to grasp?