Chuck Norris on the Conservative Health-Care Agenda

by Avik Roy

A few weeks back, I suggested that conservatives needed to be realistic about repealing Obamacare in the wake of President Obama’s reelection, and noted that there was a way to use a modified version of the law’s subsidized insurance exchanges to enact “premium support” style reforms to Medicare and Medicaid. This approach could, in theory, reduce federal spending by far more than Paul Ryan’s comparable proposals. I called it “Obamacare jiu-jitsu.” For my troubles, my friend Michael Cannon called me a “Vichyist,” otherwise known in these parts as a “cheese-eating surrender monkey.”

Well, I double-dog dare Mike to go up to Chuck Norris and call him a cheese-eating surrender monkey. Mr. Norris, the noted martial-arts expert, makes the case for Obamacare jiu-jitsu in his weekly column:

Be wise and careful here!

Many believe state resistance is then the coup de grâce of Obamacare, especially since 17 states have already refused to set up a state-run exchange by the federal government’s deadline. However, state resistance also provides another manipulative chess move by the Obama administration to bully, coerce and cast blame on the states and Republican governors in particular who refuse Obamacare.

Mark my words: If Obamacare continues on its present course, the president and his minions will blame states for denying affordable health care via subsidies and tax credits to citizens, “forcing Washington’s hand to implement the law of the land at unaffordable and higher-priced health care premiums.”

I pray Republican governors and other state officials don’t fall prey to this laden political folly and pressure. Rather, as sheep before wolves, they should be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves, especially when finely typed print among a hospital’s privacy disclosure statements (which patients are asked to sign) included the words that the treating medical facility may disclose your health information to federal officials “in order to protect the president, other officials or foreign heads of state.” So much for HIPAA privacy laws!

What state officials (and our conservative representatives in Washington) need to do is leverage (jiu-jitsu) Obamacare’s next chess moves and offer more fiscally responsible and freedom-loving alternatives or reforms, such as some version of Avik Roy’s “Obamacare jiu-jitsu” and his four-step solution to tackle the U.S. health-care behemoth. . . .

When I think of Obama and Obamacare, I can’t help but think of the words of Rickson Gracie, retired Mixed Martial Arts world champion and a member of the renowned Gracie family, who once said, “If size mattered, the elephant would be the king of the jungle.”

Let’s continue to fight and show Washington that we, the people, are the kings of the jungle.

Then again, Norris might not be particularly concerned about his health coverage. As my friend David Lilienfeld notes, “Chuck Norris will never have a heart attack. His heart isn’t nearly foolish enough to attack him.”

 — Avik Roy is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of The Apothecary, the Forbes blog on health-care and entitlement reform. You can follow him on Twitter at @aviksaroy.

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