Republicans help promote Obamacare, but hey … tax cuts!
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Republicans help promote Obamacare, but hey … tax cuts!

Posted May 05, 2017 01:50 PM by Daniel Horowitz Donkey elephant flags
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It turns out Republicans fully support government-run health care, despite the collapse of the entire system. They just didn’t like the tax increases funding Obamacare, because Republicans are for servicing socialism through debt, whereas Democrats do it by raising taxes.

The group Americans for Tax Reform is already bragging about the GOP bill’s $1 trillion tax cut. That’s really nice. We can address that with tax policy. But what about our destroyed health care system, which costs the average family thousands per year in premiums and deductibles and drives up the actual cost of the supply side of health care? Health care is the single biggest driver of the deficit, dependency, and economic stagnation, and government-run and regulated health care and insurance is the single biggest reason health care is unaffordable for too many people. What are we going to do about that?

I’m a strong supply-sider and would love tax cuts, but unshackling the most important sector of our economy will do more to grow the economy than any tax cut. One reason why Europe has stagnated for decades is because of socialized medicine. It’s no coincidence that since government-run health care in America has reached a tipping point, we have never reached three percent growth and struggle for even one or two percent.  

Republicans have a habit of playing chase the squirrel. Whenever the tab comes due to fulfill a promise on one issue, they immediately discuss another issue. When the time comes to defund Planned Parenthood, they talk about other random provisions in the budget, but when the time comes to restore a free market in health care, they talk about taxes and Planned Parenthood.

The taxes have nothing to do with destroying health care. Most of the revenue in the Obamacare tax increases comes from the increased payroll tax on the wealthy and the 3.8 percent surtax on investment income. The main tax that dealt with health insurance – the tax on “Cadillac plans” – was never actually implemented. Tax increases are never good for the economy, but they had nothing to do with destroying the health care system. It is government-run health care, through regulations, subsidies, and Medicaid expansion that has destroyed health care. Republicans love all those elements.

As such, Republicans have no right to complain about tax hikes needed to fund programs they themselves deem indispensable.

As I’ve questioned before, how can liberal Republicans rail against the taxes and mandates if they fully support, laud, defend, and fight for the key elements of Obamacare? Once you agree that we need the actuarily insolvent regulations, every economist – from right to left – will tell you that we need an individual and employer mandate so that younger and healthier people pay into the system and don’t game it out. And once you are funding the cost-crushing subsidies and Medicaid expansion, which they love so dearly, where is the money going to come from? Taxes, of course. As such, Democrats were right to raise taxes primarily on the very wealthy.

What exactly is their complaint?

The coming humiliation in the Senate that will make Obamacare popular

Meanwhile, Republicans are already preemptively destroying our messaging on health care. The problem with the bill that passed the House is not just the details and structure, although it is a terrible bill, which was made only slightly better by the Freedom Caucus. The problem is the messaging and principles espoused that led to this point and that will only deteriorate in the Senate. This deal was forged to merely get “something passed” as if it were a kidney stone, as Rep. Tom Massie quipped, not a soothing medicine needed to heal an ailment. The real problem is that Republicans have already adopted all of the premises and messaging of the other side. As Mark Levin said earlier this week, “Rather than confront the Left at the base of their arguments, Republican officials by and large live in fear of principles they proclaim at election time but reject at governing time.”

To use an MMA analogy, Republicans have managed to take their winning issue, with Democrats lying unconscious on the mat, and reverse the roles by placing themselves into the losing side of a ground-and-pound.

Where are the Republicans pounding the lectern and speaking to the morality of the issue: how thanks to Obamacare, nobody will have any health care or health insurance; how Iowa might be added to the list of states without insurers thanks to the very mandates these clowns support; how Maryland insurers will experience up to a 150 percent increase in premiums after some Marylanders already saw premiums triple and double; how eastern Tennessee cancer patients can’t get insurance and how premiums in Alaska cost up to $50,000; how Obamacare has created an immoral government-sponsored monopoly for the few insurers that remain?  

Instead, Republicans in the Senate will merely focus on Democrat talking points about coverage and pre-existing conditions and just make this bill more liberal. Because the House kept the subsidies, Medicaid expansion, and critical regulations, the door is open for the Senate GOP to take that baseline and focus further on the need to retain or even add more on all three levels rather than address the actual problem.

Without actually driving down prices by healing the free market, Republicans have placed themselves on the hook for further subsidization. They have kept the market-distorting and price-hiking regulations and subsidies – exacerbated by the elimination of the individual and employer mandates. This will place them on defense to raise Medicaid spending even more and dump more money into the high-risk pools. Their $15 billion over nine years is a joke. Instead, Republicans should have completely repealed the regulations and subsidies to drive down prices for almost everyone (especially because Medicaid expansion is already responsible for 80 percent of those who obtained coverage, which is being retained in this bill) and then dumped $250 billion into the high-risk pools as the full replacement. Hence full repeal and full replace instead of 20 percent insolvent repeal and half-assed replace.  

House Whip Rep. Steve Scalise is already talking about how “everyone with pre-existing conditions will have affordable coverage” – a utopian goal that implicitly exonerates Democrats and government-run health care from creating the pre-existing condition problem in the first place.

President Trump is praising Australia’s single-payer system.

Rather than pound the lectern and demand our right to free market health care, speak about the immoral government intervention that tethered health insurance to employment, and actually educate the public on the difference between insurance and health care, Senator Bill Cassidy, RINO-La., one of the top Senate Republicans leading the health care debate, is echoing Bernie Sanders on health care being a right. He’s preemptively ascribing blame for losing coverage on the Republican “repeal” effort rather than on Obamacare itself and the daily news stories! If Republicans would simply shut their mouths, the news cycle on Obamacare would speak for itself. Yet they are sabotaging the repeal effort by saddling free market health care with the vices that are inherent in Obamacare every time they speak.

But fear not. When we become Greece and have single-payer health care with 0.3 percent GDP growth every year, Republicans will lower your taxes.

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.