I can’t help but be reminded of that scene in the movie The Omen, where the nanny shouts “It’s all for you!” before jumping off the roof with a noose around her neck.
Last night we watched that scene replayed 219 times.
The rubber is officially on the road now. Bart Stupak has proven to be the Profile in Cowardice I fully expected him to be (and has rightfully been stripped of the “Defender Of Life” Award he was to receive on Wednesday), and the “health care reform” bill has passed the House.
There are a few things to learn from this:
- There is no such thing as a Blue Dog Democrat in Washington D.C. Fiscal and social conservatism is a gimmick that Democrats use in Republican-leaning districts to enhance their chances at winning elections. They don’t mean it, and should all be voted out.
- The Far Left wing of the Democrat party, led by Obama and Pelosi, with Harry Reid standing on the sidelines begging to be allowed to play, will stop at nothing to advance their agenda of turning America into a European-style socialist state. That can’t be stated clearly enough. They will stop at nothing.
- The Republican Party needs to recognize the first two items listed here and understand that there is no bipartisanship in Washington D.C. as long as the Democrat party is a Far Left party. Negotiations with the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, etc. will only lead to bad bills. The Republicans need to snap out of the Battered Wife Syndrome they currently embrace.
What’s done is done, as Shakespeare wrote. I am under no illusions that this bill can be repealed any time before January 2013. But that doesn’t mean that the Republicans should not run in 2010 on a campaign to repeal and replace the bill. C’mon, it’s even a good slogan: Repeal. Replace. Reform.
The Republicans can not continue to bad mouth the bill without providing a clear alternative. As much as I admire and respect Paul Ryan, he has a tendency to get deep into the weeds when he talks about policy. What the Republicans need is a simple 5-point plan that can be printed on a single page of paper.
- Health-savings accounts. Allows people to put aside tax-deferred dollars for use in health care. This money will not be on a “use it or lose it” basis as it currently is. It can be kept, added to, and left to heirs just like a 401K and IRA.
- Real, meaningful tort reform. Limit non-income damages in malpractice cases, and limit the amount of winnings that can be collected by lawyers. This has been done on a state level in Texas, and health care costs have dropped because doctors will no longer feel the need to order so many CYA tests.
- Allow people to buy insurance across state lines. This is a no-brainer. Allow people to shop for their insurance needs wherever they need to. Allow real competition between insurance companies.
- Eliminate Federal requirements for insurance. Right now, the government dictates what conditions must be covered by insurance. The more things that are covered, the more the insurance costs. Allow people to decide for themselves what they want covered, and allow people to choose from a wide range of deductibles. The only medical coverage people need from insurance is catastrophic coverage, or drug coverage over a certain amount per year. Let me decide if I want my coverage to include sex-reassignment surgery, not the government.
- Eliminate the individual mandate. First off, it’s unconstitutional. Secondly, if people choose not to have health care insurance then those people need to take their medicine when they go to the doctor. Strengthen the position of hospitals and doctors to legally pursue people who skip out without paying the bill, rather than pass the cost on to those people who do have insurance.
The fine details of any plan must be worked out, and the five points I wrote above do not necessarily have to be the five points that they agree upon, but the public face of the plan must be something that the public can digest easily and quickly. The Republicans have many plans floating around. They need to get together in the local Capitol Hill watering hole, bash out a final plan with the best elements, and then put it into a language that be easily understood: a one-page summary and a bill itself that is no longer than 50 pages, with a non-lawyer translation available.
Nothing will be repealed until January 2013 because Obama holds the veto pen, but that doesn’t mean that a Republican majority in the House and, maybe, the Senate, can’t send the bill to the President as regularly as clockwork and force him to veto and then defend his action.
Last night Obama said, “This is what change looks like.” This November will give the Naked Emperor another example of what change can look like.
This fight is not over. It is just beginning.
UPDATE: Many thanks to Rich Lowry for The Corner shoutout from the tongue-in-cheek email I sent him yesterday. I am truly honored.