With the media focused on debating the size of Trump’s inaugural crowd, Trump could shake up the news cycle and commence his presidency with a bang by fully repealing Obamacare. He could put Democrats in the media on defense by making them defend the astronomical premiums and the destruction of our health care system caused by the law. Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress are hell-bent on turning this into a losing issue.
Watching the Tom Price, R-Ga. (D, 62%) confirmation hearing last week and other statements issued by Republican senators, one would come away with the impression that Obamacare is great and that it’s repeal of Obamacare that is the problem. Leave it to Republicans to take the biggest winning issue, echo every Democrat talking point about it, take blame for something Democrats did, and then turn it into a losing issue.
By only repealing the Obamacare handouts and refusing to repeal the Obamacare regulations — which are single-handedly responsible for driving up premiums and destroying choice and competition in the market — Republicans have backed themselves into a corner. Despite the undeniable destruction in front the of the eyes of every American, Republicans have managed to shift the focus away from the emergency need to repeal Obamacare to the emergency need to “replace” and fix their partial repeal of Obamacare. Republicans now get up in front of the public and say things like, “we can’t throw people off their insurance”; “we have to be careful everyone is covered.”
In short order, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and nobody is even talking about the destruction Democrats wrought that is not speculative but in plain sight of every consumer. Aside from Rand Paul, R-Ky. (A, 92%) nobody on the Senate HELP Committee seemed to express even a rudimentary understanding of free markets and how the failure of Obamacare disproves every Democrat talking point on health care. They are the ones who are uncompassionate and ensuring that people can’t get affordable health care. The numbers and results of Obamacare speaks for itself. Yes, we are looking at you, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (F, 17%).
Hopefully a report released last week by the American Action Forum (AAF) will get Republicans back off the mat and on offense against Obamacare. In addition to crippling consumers and the insurance market, Obamacare has decimated economic growth, job creation, and wages. AAF found that “the rise in premiums has been associated with $19 billion in lost wages, 10,130 fewer business establishments, and nearly 300,000 lost jobs, with seven states losing more than 10,000 jobs, all results consistent with our previous research.”
And what is the culprit of the rising premiums and the depressed job creation? The Obamacare regulations that Republicans have no intention of repealing:
As AAF has detailed during the past six years, regulations from the ACA have imposed significant burdens on individuals, states, and small businesses. According to the latest data, final rules alone have generated $51 billion in costs and more than 172 million hours of paperwork compliance. To put that in perspective, it would take more than 86,200 employees working full-time (2,000 hours annually) to complete a year of new ACA paperwork, roughly the population of Miami Beach, FL.
Shockingly, at the Price confirmation hearing last week, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. (F, 15%) kept insisting that those in employer-sponsored insurance plans remain essentially untouched as a result of Obamacare. That was a talking point other Democrats used against Tom Price throughout the hearing. Are you kidding me?
More from the report:
The increase in employer contributions to health insurance premiums generally hovered around 25 percent. But the increases in some states have been quite severe. […]
What does this mean for weekly pay? […]
And remember, we are only in the fourth year of full implementation, but premiums have skyrocketed this much! Imagine what the individual and employer markets will look like in three or five years from now if this law is not repealed? Yet we don’t hear Republicans going on offense demanding to know what the Democrat plan is if they persist in filibustering repeal.
How hard is it for Republicans to pin the tail of blame on the donkey while the entire country knows that Democrats own Obamacare? Bernie Sanders likes to talk about compassion and the right to health care. Yet, it is monstrous and crippling government regulations that pre-dated Obamacare, then exacerbated by the law, which drove up the cost of health care, distorted insurance, eliminated choice, competition, and innovation from the entire profession, and trapped so many people into a failing system — not to mention the job losses and wage cuts. Restoring the free market is the only way to place “affordable” and “care” back in health care.
Yet, rather than go on offense against these regulations, Republicans have boxed themselves in by keeping the regulations, and thereby, enshrining the skyrocketing premiums and depressed economic growth thereof. For reasons only Allah knows, they want to get rid of the funding mechanism while retaining the high costs and giving Democrats all of our own talking points.
For all the talk about pre-existing conditions, the major obstacle to making this country free again is the pre-existing condition of GOP political malpractice. Trump’s first test as president will be to cure this condition by demanding that Republicans repeal ALL of Obamacare.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.