LOPEZ: Is there really any point trying to defund and further delay aspects of it?
PIPES: My ultimate goal is “repeal and replace,” but this cannot be accomplished as long as President Obama is in power. On “defund and delay,” I think it is important to continue to make the American people aware of this terrible law and what it means for their health care. Discussing options for delay is a very important part of our message today.Recent polls show that awareness about the exchanges’ opening is very low. The Commonwealth Fund’s poll showed that only 2 in 5 adults are aware of the exchanges. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll revealed that nearly three-quarters said they were very or somewhat concerned that they would pay higher prices for coverage under Obamacare. This is not what the president promised. He said over and over again that the average family would see its premium decline by $2,500. This was refuted by the Congressional Budget Office.
LOPEZ: What is the cure for Obamacare?
PIPES: My cure is in my Encounter Broadside The Cure for Obamacare. We need a health-care plan that empowers doctors and patients, not the federal government.
My plan focuses on:
Changing the federal tax code so that individuals can also purchase coverage with pre-tax dollars;
Providing a refundable tax credit for those who need assistance and who don’t have employer-based coverage;
Expanding the availability of Health Savings Accounts;
Allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines;
Encouraging state-level medical-malpractice reform;
Reforming Medicare and Medicaid;
Eliminating the Electronic Health Record mandate; and
Eliminating the Essential Benefit mandate.
Adopting such a plan will lead to universal coverage and lower costs.
LOPEZ: Who else is prescribing an effective cure?
PIPES: There are many scholars and politicians who are articulating plans similar to mine. They include politicians like Dr. Tom Price, Dr. Tom Coburn, Paul Ryan, Steve Scalise, and Phil Roe, to name a few. Think-tankers like Grace-Marie Turner, Tom Miller, Avik Roy, Ramesh Ponnuru, and others all have good plans.
The American public needs to support politicians who endorse market-based reforms. Education is key.
LOPEZ: Does your cure have any shot?
PIPES: My plan and others by those I have mentioned do have a shot, but only if the Republicans take the presidency, keep the House, and take the Senate in 2016. Then, early in 2017, repeal-and-replace legislation could be introduced and passed.
If not, we will be on the “Road to Serfdom” and there will be no off ramp.
LOPEZ: Where would you have people refocus today, as the law is in the news?
PIPES: We need to focus on the failures of Obamacare and then put forward a replacement agenda so people can see that there is a better way. Just saying “No” is not a solution.
LOPEZ: What should people ask lawmakers — local, state, and national?
PIPES: Lawmakers at all levels need to hear from their constituents that they do not want government making decisions for them. Individuals and families should be making decisions about how best to live their lives. It is this philosophy that built this great nation. Let’s build upon it, not destroy it.
– Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor at large of National Review Online.