In the Washington Examiner, Jim Capretta and James Wootton write that House Republicans should freeze, investigate, and replace Obamacare. All three steps should be taken prior to the 2012 election and would help advance the already extraordinarily popular cause of repeal.
Capretta and Wootton advise the House to pass legislation to keep Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other members of the Obama administration from “furiously issuing rules to ready the law’s government-centric architecture.” This step — the freeze — could only go so far because the pro-Obamacare Senate, and obviously Obama himself, wouldn’t go along. But the step is still worth taking in the House.
The investigating step could provide more immediate dividends. The authors implore Congress to investigate Obamacare in four areas: “access to care for seniors; reduction in employer-sponsored insurance; impediments to job creation; and cost to taxpayers.” It is certainly well worth highlighting Obamacare’s ill effects in each of these four realms — and also in a fifth and even more important area: its deprivation of Americans’ liberty.
The last of the three steps that Republicans should take prior to 2012, both in the House and on the presidential campaign trail, is to advance replacements for Obamacare. As I’ve written previously, such replacements should be simple and do three things:
1. Lower health costs (along the lines of the 2009 House Republican health bill, which according to the Congressional Budget Office, would lower the average American family’s health insurance costs on the open market by about $3,000 annually versus Obamacare);
2. Stop the tax code’s discrimination against the uninsured (by giving tax credits to the uninsured to keep them from being nearly the only Americans who have to try to buy health insurance without a tax break); and
3. Fund state-run community (“high-risk”) pools (to provide access to insurance for people with prohibitively expensive preexisting conditions).
Properly structured, such a replacement would cost only about $300-350 billion in its real first decade, while, even according to the Congressional Budget Office’s rosy estimates, Obamacare would cost well over $2 trillion in its real first decade. Moreover, the replacement’s only effect on the deficit would be a roughly $100 billion reduction in revenues — resulting from its tax cut for the uninsured. Meanwhile, repealing Obamacare would result in more than $2 trillion in savings that could be applied to deficit reduction — or which could be put back into Medicare and/or the pockets of American taxpayers.