Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hope Over Experience: What Should The GOP Do The Day After The Supreme Court Hands Down Its Obamacare Decision?

Hugh Hewitt, like many on the right, is comfortable with the belief that the Supreme Court will strike down part, if not all, of Obamacare. He is urging the GOP to be "ready"
When SCOTUS does the country and history an enormous favor and applies the Constitution and bids farewell to Obamacare, the GOP must be ready with a set of innovative policy prescriptions with which to frame the fall debate.  (Nothing will actually pass until 2013, but a mandate for market-based reforms must be sought and won in the election, and that set of reforms has got to be outlined by Mitt Romney on the campaign trail.)
Hugh, you naive fool. If there's one thing I think we can anticipate it's that the GOP will not have any sort of "plan" ready to present to a grateful nation. Even if they did, the day after will be nothing but angry Obama denunciations of the "unelected" Supreme Court. Democrats, as a group, know what they want - they want government-run health care, and will keep trying and trying until they achieve it. Like the Taliban waiting for the US to leave, socialists are also very patient. 

Republicans on the other hand? At least a third of them would sign on to some kind of centralized "reform," based on the "Medicare Part D" rationale (if we didn't pass it, the Dems would have passed something worse). Another third would absolutely oppose any attempt at reform. No one, except a few stray think tankers, will have the stones to propose changing the tax code to end favorable tax-treatment for employer funded health insurance, which would be the easiest way to address many of the popular complaints about the health care system 

(as a long aside: I have no great expertise in health care or insurance; but watching the Free Will Wife, who is a psychologist, struggle with those among her clients who rely on insurance to pay for their sessions, has convinced me that the employer-based system is the least efficient way possible to pay for anything, least of all health care. To be blunt: the people whose insurance companies cause FWW the most problems are the patients using their employer-provided policies. If someone has bought their own policy, they know exactly what's in it and what the co-pay is. The employee trying to cash in some of his health "benefits?" They have no idea, and often don't realize how limited their coverage is until it's too late. The insurance reimbursements are slow-walked, and often reach a Medicarian level, which is irritating to the health care provider, while the coverage is often limited or non-existent. But, despite its manifest inefficiencies and deficiencies, any attempt to rid the world of employer-based health care coverage will set off riots in the streets).

Agreed that the GOP needs a plan, but experience tells us that any such plan will be (1) half-assed and (2) won't survive first contact with the enemy.

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