Derek Hunter

Now they’re required to buy insurance. Well, not required exactly. They can refuse to and, rather than spending hundreds of dollars per month for a plan they’ll likely not use, they can simply pay a small fine. Thousands of dollars next year vs. $95 and the ability to buy insurance for the same price ex post facto were something catastrophic to happen. The young and healthy uninsured would be foolish to buy health insurance under that scenario.

If the young and healthy take the logical path and decline to enroll, premiums will skyrocket in 2015 even more than they already have. Companies will stop selling plans in the exchanges because they’ll have no choice. And, unfortunately for Obamacare proponents, the logical path is also the easy path.

For Obamacare to implode, the young and healthy need only do nothing, and young people excel at doing nothing.

Democrats’ refusal to delay the individual mandate for a year was an inadvertent gift to Republicans. The system as it is can’t survive. They refused to change it. Now they have to be made to live with it.

The New York Times once wrote, “Rarely has a government program that promised so much to so many fallen apart so fast.” This wasn’t about Obamacare, this was about the only entitlement ever to be repealed – Medicare Catastrophic Coverage in 1989. What happened then is the most likely outcome for Obamacare.

Medicare Catastrophic offered all seniors new health benefits for a small fee. Only most seniors already had what the government was offering from private companies or didn’t want them. Much like Obamacare, it was a solution for everyone to a problem faced by few. And just like Obamacare, everyone was forced to comply with it to spread the cost around.

Back in 1989, the cost to seniors was a mere $12 per month. That may not seem like much, and it wasn’t, but seniors didn’t want it and they revolted. What passed with much fanfare just a year earlier was quickly repealed. Not replaced, repealed.

When people get a taste of what Obamacare is serving them next year (not in the abstract as it is now, but in reality), not just higher premiums, loss of their current plan and doctor but incredibly high deductibles, they will want scalps. And there will only be one party to blame – the Democrats.

Checkmate, provided Republicans learn to play chess.

Democrats may not act the way they did in 1989, but unlike 1989, 2014 is an election year. If they refuse to act, voters can. That is, unless Republicans let them “fix” the problems as they inevitably develop.

Obamacare is the plan Democrats wanted, it’s what they wrote and voted for. The only option Republicans should offer to “fix” the problem should be full repeal and replacing it with a free-market option. Democrats will refuse, and when they do they should get nothing in return.

Unfortunately, unlike Democrats, Republicans are not a collective mind. There is actually diversity of thought on the political right. Some will be tempted to “work with” Democrats to fix problems as they arise. But those problems are fundamental, not tangential. They can’t be fixed, they can only be postponed. And Washington is excellent at postponing problems, not so good at dealing with them.

Efforts must be started now to hold the caucus together when this day comes. All Republicans will never be on the same page, but if they start now they can at least ensure they’re working from the same book.

Every problem, every failure, every issue needs to be uniformly highlighted. They also need to collectively get behind a solution. The American Health Care Reform Act from the Republican Study Committee is a good place to start and should be used as a launching pad to finalize a plan they can all get behind.

As the old saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The last few weeks have proven this to be true. But the Democrats have a plan to fail, only not this quickly. If Republicans don’t highlight every Obamacare failure as a failure of Obamacare, of government control, and allow Democrats to execute their plan to blame their failure on the private sector, we will have lost.

It may seem like it now, but this whole battle is far from over. Conservative groups who’ve become adept at circular firing squads and playing checkers during a game of chess need to step up too. They need to dip into their deep pockets and make a concerted, long-term public education effort to do the job the media won’t do. They have to take to the airwaves and let disengaged and disinterested voters that the actions of the Democrats have cost them more money out of their pockets. That government control over the health care system has given them less options, lower quality care. And it’s only going to get worse.

There’s a perverted sense of satisfaction in sitting on the sidelines, arms folded, while what you said would happen happens. These Tea Party groups are quite good at it, and at making sure we lose less ground more slowly. This is their chance to show they can do more than that. This is their chance to show they, we, and Republicans, can actually think ahead, plan ahead and advance the ball.

It’s time to put the checkers away and start playing chess.


Derek Hunter

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.