The road to repeal starts here.
Now that Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson has caved on his abortion-related objections and will vote for cloture, there’s not much left to do. ObamaCare, one of the worst bills ever to be considered by Congress, is going to pass and be signed into law.
Who wants to sign the repeal?
There will still be the conference committee negotiations to iron out differences between the House and Senate, but let’s not kid ourselves. That’s not even a bump in the road. And while the bill may be slightly less disastrous than one that would have included a public option or a Medicare expansion, it’s bad enough as it is.
It will still hamstring the insurance industry with unsustainable restrictions on who must be covered, and for how much, and under what conditions. It will still set up “insurance exchanges” run by the government. It will still impose unprecedented mandates on individuals.
And it remains as fiscally fraudulent as ever. In order to claim the bill somehow reduces the deficit over 10 years, those “scoring” the bill at the Congressional Budget Office simply omit a certain Medicare-reimbursement increase of more than $200 billion for doctors, and only count spending over five years even while they count revenues in the form of new taxes and fees starting immediately.
Try this: Total up the money you’ll earn for the next 10 years, but only total up five years of your spending. You’re rich!
Keep telling yourself that.
Oh, and by the way, for those who still want to pretend there are no death panels, check into the Comparative Effectiveness Research Panel. No death panels, my ass.
There’s no way around this. Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill have just perpetrated the most criminal rip-off in the history of this country on the American people. And with its passage now a certainty, the only thing left to do is to start working on getting it repealed.
Here’s how to do that:
1. Republicans need to immediately start a coordinated, national congressional campaign for 2010 that focuses on two promises. One is to finally get federal spending under control, which won’t be an easy promise to sell because they didn’t do anything of the sort the last time they were in control. They need to say it and mean it. It would help if John Boehner would announce he will no longer be the Republican leader in the House and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin would take his place. But at any rate, that’s the first promise. The second is to repeal ObamaCare.
2. Spend the campaign season pointing out everything that’s wrong with ObamaCare in its early implementations. The taxes. The fees. The contortions of the insurance market. The loss of individual discretion, which will start immediately and can be demonstrated in all kinds of personal anecdotes. Oh, and don’t think the mainstream media will help with this.
3. Since the public is already against the bill, and won’t be hard to convince of its shortcomings, Republicans need to propose not only to repeal these most egregious elements, but construct a campaign based on real market-based reforms. These can be sold as fixes to problems that Democrats ignored in their hasty push to pass this monstrosity.
Republicans cannot pretend the system was fine before ObamaCare. There have been problems with it for years, but they mostly stem from the fact that people are too reliant on insurance companies for their basic, day-to-day health care. Now they’re going to be reliant on both insurance companies and government regulators. It’s the worst of all imaginable worlds.
Republicans need to propose a system in which people will be reliant on themselves to the greatest extent possible.
4. Win back control of at least the House, and preferably the Senate as well. Even if Democrats maintain a small majority in the Senate, there will probably be enough Democrats willing to work with Republicans to form a working majority on reforms the public wants.
5. Pound, pound and pound away some more on the need for these reforms. Put unbearable pressure on President Obama. Create a political environment in which, if he resists popular reforms to his signature act of governance, he sets himself up for an electoral disaster in 2012. Especially make the case in the 2004 Bush states that flipped to Obama in 2008.
Can Obama hang onto North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico if he stubbornly vetoes such reforms?
If he decides he can’t, then ObamaCare is essentially repealed. This may give Obama a reasonable shot at a second term, but nothing – not even that – could be worse for the nation than allowing this boondoggle to stay in its current form.
And if Obama decides to tempt fate and veto the reforms, then Republicans can completely toss out ObamaCare in 2013, with a real, free-market-based, consumer-empowering alternative ready for the signature of a smiling Sarah Palin.