The popular refrain from the left (and by default, the media) is that the House GOP voting to repeal ObamaCare was a giant waste of time. Never mind that it was a campaign promise, R’s have a pretty sizable mandate from the past election, and now we’re finding out what’s in the bill after we passed it (the way Nancy Pelosi said) and that it doesn’t do much of what it said it was going and in some cases makes things worse…worst vote ever.
It’s the worst vote ever, because Harry Reid said we won’t call a repeal vote for the Senate and the President said he’ll veto it. This might surprise people, but Reid and Obama are going to say that no matter what the Republicans want to do. While I know liberal political organizations like NBC News and the New York Times think Republicans should ask for Democrats permission before doing anything, if we were actually going to do that…we should just go home.
Having said that, repealing ObamaCare without replacing it with an alternative (possibly one of the ones we had from the beginning that Democrats lied and said we didn’t have) isn’t going to fly. As Charles Krauthammer says, Republicans “…will and should be judged by how well their alternative addresses the needs of the uninsured and the anxieties of the currently insured,” which he of course said after pointing out all the ways “tinkering around the edges” wasn’t going to work.
This is where cats like House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan comes in, who I’m sure is going to be saying more of this in his State of the Union response…
But repeal is not an end – it is a beginning…beyond repeal, we must work to replace this costly mistake with consumer-driven reforms. Existing health care entitlement spending continues to drive our nation toward bankruptcy. The skyrocketing cost of health care continues to push coverage out of reach for many families. We are all seeing a greater portion of our paychecks taken up by increasing premiums. These are real problems that need to be addressed in our nation’s health care system, and repealing this law is a critical first step.
Putting patients first – contributing a defined amount to their health security and making doctors and hospitals compete for their business – would put the focus in health care on quality, cost, efficiency and patient satisfaction, just as it is in almost every other business. By taking this approach, we can simultaneously strengthen programs that guarantee a safety net for those with lower income and for seniors – but only if we change the architecture of federal health programs in a manner that drives costs down, instead of letting open-ended government subsidies drive them up.
I’ll concede that repealing ObamaCare without presenting alternatives and having a full debate on the benefits of those alternatives (the debate we should have had before passing it in the first place), will have been a waste of time and an exercise in futility, and quite frankly embarrassing. And there are a 1,001 other bloggers from the right who will have called out Congress before I even get in front of my computer.
But I have faith in the new team and some of the new players we have right now, and am willing to see how this plays out first.