With Obamacare repeal underway, GOP House and Senate leaders should replace it in a way that lets Democrats help build a patient-centered system atop the ruins of Obama’s failed adventure in government medicine.
Replacing this wretched law with a market-friendly, patient-power alternative requires serious, steady work. Republicans should make it easy for Democrats to help.
Democrats would vote lock-step against a solitary replacement measure, if Republicans foolishly compile an Obamacare-like colossus that drones on for 2,801 pages, as did the laughably titled Affordable Care Act.
Instead, Republicans should remember that of the 33 U.S. senators who face re-election in 2018, 25 are Democrats. They include Indiana’s Joe Donnelly, North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, and Montana’s Jon Tester.
These states all backed Mitt Romney and Donald J. Trump.
Republicans should seek the support of these and other shaky Senate and House Democrats, and those who appreciate individual liberty more than do such hardcore statists as Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
Republicans should hold separate votes on one specific replacement measure after another. Each should become effective the second that President Trump signs it into law.
Obamacare’s victims immediately should be free to choose patient-centered health coverage that suits their needs and tastes.
First, senators and congressmen should vote to let Americans own individual, portable health plans, just as they own their auto and life insurance policies. Some Democrats will support such legislation.
Second, vote to let Americans buy health coverage across state lines.
Some Democrats will agree.
Third, permit every American to own a portable, tax-preferred Health Savings Account (HSA).
Fourth, free Americans to launch “association health plans.” If the Rotary Club wishes to offer medical insurance to its 330,000 U.S. members, Uncle Sam should cheer, as will some Democrats.
Republicans should invite Democrats to endorse these individual replacement proposals:
- Allow American employees the same tax deductibility for health insurance that employers now enjoy
- Give Americans affluence-tested tax credits to help purchase health coverage. Such tax credits should be refundable for the poor. Such credits and subsidies could be deposited into HSAs.
- Free Americans to deposit flexible spending account monies and Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security survivor’s benefits directly into their HSAs, as Pacific Research Institute president Sally Pipes advises.
- Let all Americans voluntarily purchase low-cost, catastrophic health plans. Obamacare bans these for those older than 29.
- Congress should let states use Medicaid block-grant funds to implement medical-malpractice courts and other litigation reforms.
- Terminate federal "community rating," which makes insurers in a given area charge a 30-year-old triathlete and a 60-year-old morbidly obese chain smoker precisely the same premium.
- End federally mandated insurance benefits. Obamacare forces childless Americans to buy pediatric vision and dental coverage for kids they do not have and never may want. Enough!
- Let doctors and other medical professionals partially or fully tax-deduct the dollar value of care that they offer free to the poor and uninsured.
- Free insurers to deduct some or all of their premiums from chronically ill “un-insurables.” This will encourage them to cover those with diabetes, cardiac disease, multiple sclerosis, and other serious ailments.
- Allow states to launch high-risk pools for those with pre-existing, difficult conditions.
- Let Congress open a risk-pool and a malpractice court in Washington, D.C. — which it governs.Rather than tell their constituents why they fought such common-sense reforms, some Democrats will back some of these ideas.
Slowly but surely, as if meticulously constructing the foundation of a sturdy new structure, Republicans will nail one repeal plank beside another, with some Democratic nails also pounded into the boards. This effort will focus and unite Republicans and divide and confuse Democrats.
What America badly needs is a pro-market Obamacare alternative, one that replaces the government-patient relationship with the doctor-patient relationship. This new system will be built to last, especially if Republicans install it one piece at a time, and constantly make Democrats offers to cooperate — offers they can’t refuse.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online. He is also a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. Read more reports from Deroy Murdock — Click Here Now.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.