Congress is going to vote on Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (40%) has promised that an Obamacare repeal resolution will be the first item on the Senate’s agenda, but there is some disagreement among Republicans as to what the replacement for President Obama’s failed health care reform law should be.
Sen. McConnell’s fellow Kentuckian, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (A, 92%) suggests “freedom.”
In an op-ed written for Rare, Sen. Paul suggested it would be “wise” for the GOP to immediately vote on a replacement health insurance reform law, guided by four principles.
1. The freedom to choose inexpensive insurance free of government dictates.
2. The freedom to save unlimited amounts in a health savings account.
3. The freedom to buy insurance across state lines.
4. The freedom for all individuals to join together in voluntary associations to gain the leverage of being part of a large insurance pool.
Rand Paul’s guidelines come as other Republicans in Congress have begun to back away from full ACA repeal, to some form of partial repeal and a replacement plan that keeps parts of Obamacare.
"It's a partial repeal first of all, it's not a total repeal," Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga. (C, 75%) told reporters in late November. "Let's get that out of the way. It's a partial repeal, and I think there are pieces of it in there that have to stay in place for awhile and that is what we are going to be working on."
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas (F, 42%) floated a “three-year transition” period to delay the effective repeal of Obamacare while lawmakers develop a replacement plan. One of those plans in development, authored by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La. (F, 47%) and Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas (F, 57%), “does not purport to repeal the [Affordable Care Act],” in the words of Health Affairs contributing editor Timothy Jost.
Sen. Paul warns that anything less than a full repeal will end in disaster:
My fear is that if you leave part of Obamacare in place (the dictate that insurance companies must sell insurance to individuals with pre-existing conditions) then you will see an acceleration of adverse selection and ultimately mass bankruptcy of the healthcare insurance industry.
Don’t misunderstand me. We should repeal Obamacare, but partial repeal will only accelerate the current chaos and may eventually lead to calls for a taxpayer bailout of insurance companies.
And he is joined by other conservatives in Congress.
Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah (A, 100%) and Rep. Mark Walker R-N.C. (C, 75%) wrote, in a joint op-ed, that President-elect Trump’s administration and the new Congress must not “fumble” full repeal. “We can’t afford to just squeak by with the bare minimum, while preserving many of Obamacare’s most burdensome and intrusive provisions,” they wrote.
Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (A, 94%) has unequivocally stated Obamacare “should be repealed and replaced, and all of that should be done in the 115th Congress,” and “not left to a future Congress to deal with.”
And, of course, Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas (A, 97%) has made his position on Obamacare abundantly clear:
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) October 25, 2016
“Principled opponents of Obamacare rejected it because we reject the use of state force to mandate that we buy a commercial good from a private seller. Pragmatic opponents want to keep the feel good aspects of Obamacare while cleaving the individual mandate that forces people to buy insurance,” Paul writes.
Will the principled conservatives in Congress be enough to dissuade GOP leadership’s partial-repeal agenda? Sen. Paul’s conclusion is pessimistic.
“Partial repeal of Obamacare will likely win the day,” he predicts. “But when the insurance companies come to Washington crying for a bailout don’t say that no one warned of this preventable disaster.”
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in Politics and Economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are Conservative Political Philosophy, the American Founding, and Progressive Rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations: @ChrisCPandolfo