So what about the GOP House vote to repeal that legislative monstrosity that masquerades under the misleading title of "Affordable Care Act"? Was the vote more than symbolic?
Will the vote have any impact on the presidential and congressional races? What about the GOP proposals to replace Obamacare? A host presented those three questions, and I'd like to address them more thoroughly than the time permitted on television.
I don't believe that the GOP repeal vote was merely symbolic, even though everyone knows that the obstructionist Democratic Senate, which hasn't produced a budget for more than 1,100 days, will reject it out of hand. The House vote to repeal, which included 5 Democratic votes, helps to frame a critically important issue in the 2012 presidential and congressional campaigns, which is also true of the House's passage of "cut, cap and balance" and Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan, "The Path to Prosperity."
Obamacare, along with Obama's stimulus package and his overall bankrupting federal spending, gave rise to the national conservative grass-roots uprising that bitter clingers fondly refer to as the tea party movement but whose followers radical leftist Democrats -- excuse the tautology -- refer to as tea baggers. If Obamacare led to the initial uprising, Obamacare 2 -- the Supreme Court majority's abominable affirmation of the law -- will galvanize the tea party as much as any other issue and energize all conservatives to defeat Obama and congressional Democrats in November. It formally showcases and places in stark relief the Democrats' position on the law; it forces them, on the record, either to join the overwhelming majority of Americans who want it repealed or to thwart their will. That is big, if Mitt Romney and other Republicans capitalize on it.
What impact will this vote and the Senate Democrats' inevitable refusal to repeal have on the presidential and congressional races?
This action and inaction, taken together with Obama's and his party's obstruction of entitlement reform and overall spending reductions, will further expose them as the sole party leading us over the cliff to national financial bankruptcy. Though it is a dagger in the heart of America's financial stability, it is a political gift to Romney, if he'll properly articulate the message. He must call Obama (and his Democratic Party co-conspirators) out as the Great Destroyer. He must shine a spotlight on the mountain of lies upon which Obamacare was based.
Obamacare was based on the fraudulent premise that we have almost 50 million Americans without health insurance and that this is tantamount to a lack of access to health care. The facts should help dispel this pernicious propaganda.
In fact, millions included in that number are illegals; millions are young people in good health who can afford but choose not to purchase health care (the "young invincibles") -- as many as 18 million; millions are eligible for government assistance and don't avail themselves of it; and millions are only uninsured for short periods of time. Health care expert Sally Pipes has estimated that the number of people who fall through the cracks -- those who are working, are ineligible for aid and who don't earn enough to afford health insurance (the "chronically uninsured working poor") is closer to 8 million. So Obama succeeded in commandeering one-seventh of the nation's economy instead of providing an affordable safety net for these people and preserving, rather than destroying, the greatest health care system in world history -- despite its flaws.
Thus, Obamacare is not about access to health care, nor is it about costs, which cannot be contained under this socialistic scheme without extreme rationing. It is not about quality of care, which will necessarily be reduced from rationing, from the further elimination of market forces, from the exodus of doctors from the profession, and from other factors. It is about expanding government control.
Obama's other lies about Obamacare are that people will be able to keep their own plans, the cost curve will bend downward, the doctor-patient relationship will not be damaged, there will not be federal funding of abortions, there will not be rationing and access to and quality of care will not be reduced, when it will actually be severely reduced. If Republicans clearly communicate that those are lies, they will greatly enhance their election prospects.
Yes, Republicans should present a plan to reform health care, but only after Obamacare is firmly repealed, because they can't afford to allow disagreements over reform to interfere with repeal of a law that is infinitely worse than the status quo ante. Their replacement should center on market reforms -- eliminating the discriminatory tax treatment between employer-based and individual plans; expanding health savings accounts; reducing federal regulations, taxes and costly government mandates; tort reform; and permitting buying insurance across state lines.
As Dr. David Gratzer said concerning health care reform, "capitalism is not the problem; it is the cure." The GOP must bring that message home in this campaign.