In the wake of the GOP’s botched Obamacare repeal effort in the Senate, exuberant Democrats and the media started clamoring for a “bipartisan” approach to health care reform.
Exactly what kind of “deal” do they have in mind? On Sunday House minority leader Nancy Pelosi was asked by Chris Wallace of Fox News what the Democrats are willing to offer up to Republicans as part of this new spirit of bipartisanship. She awkwardly stammered for a while… and in the end couldn’t name a single thing.
The idea of a bipartisan solution to Obamacare’s financial meltdown has always been a fantasy. Democrats are the resistance party, by their own admission, remember?
To a man and woman, every single Democrat in Congress — even the faux moderates like Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Mark Warner of Virginia — is opposed to virtually every repeal and reform measure Republicans have proposed.
They are against Medicaid reforms — including any turn back to the states.
They are against repealing the Obamacare tax increases.
They are against repealing the individual mandate, the employer mandate, the essential benefit package regulations.
They are against interstate competition for insurance.
They are against allowing consumers to have a choice option in selecting an insurance package.
They are against expanding affordable health savings accounts for more Americans.
So what exactly are the Schumer Democrats for? They want to enact “fixes” to Obamacare that would enshrine this colossal health care failure into permanent law. They want more money for the bankrupt exchanges. They want even higher penalties for Americans who don’t want to buy Obamacare policies. They want bailout money for the insurers (whom they are joined at the hip with). And they want measures that clear the path to a single-payer system, which Bernie Sanders and most honest liberal concede is what they hope to be the only long-term solution to the Obamacare crisis.
But several Senate Republicans are negotiating the terms of a Republican surrender. Senator Lamar Alexander is negotiating with Democrats to “stabilize” the Obamacare insurance markets by providing billions of dollars of extra funding to the insurance companies. This is nothing short of a bailout. It would be a worse deal than Republicans might have gotten if Hillary Clinton had been elected president. Overnight Republicans would be transformed from the party that was going to repeal every word of Obamacare to the party that rescued it from bankruptcy.
This would obviously be a political and policy debacle. Republicans should be as unified in opposition to a bailout as Democrats were this year in fighting to save Obamacare. Barack Obama promised that Obamacare wouldn’t raise the deficit by a dime, now Republicans are supposed to approve potentially tens of billions of dollars for a system that is in a death spiral.
Under the Lamar Alexander “compromise” Obamacare will become like Medicare and Medicaid, gobbling up ever more tax dollars as its costs cascade year after year.
Doing nothing and letting Obamacare burn itself out like a raging forest fire is a much better long-term solution for the economy and the future of the American health care system.
In the meantime, House and Senate Republicans’ best move forward is to hold stand-alone votes on the real reform measures.
There should be a vote on repealing the medical device tax; then on eliminating the employer mandate; then on eliminating the individual mandate; then on interstate insurance competition; and so on.
Week after week there should be reform votes, so Democrats can’t claim that Republicans are intentionally destroying the health care system, when this is the work of Obamacare.
Republicans have infuriated conservative voters for failing to repeal Obamacare. That failure may at some point be forgiven by voters as a good faith effort against stiff resistance in Washington. What conservatives will never forgive is if the GOP works with Pelosi and Schumer to sanctify the Obamacare law as another permanent and unreformable entitlement.