A number of commentators have criticized the emerging GOP strategy of repealing Obamacare’s fiscal aspects through reconciliation in early 2017, but delaying the effective date of that repeal until 2019 or 2020 until a replacement bill can be formulated. Over the weekend, I wrote a piece for Forbes explaining why the GOP “repeal and delay” plan is the only real way forward.
The basic problem is this: the Obamacare replace bill will need 60 votes in the Senate. And no replacement plan currently proposed by a member of Congress has attracted Democratic support. Hence, to get to 60, Republicans will have to spend at least a year hashing out their own differences, and hashing out their differences with open-minded Democrats.
What will it take to attract Democratic support? The key issue is to be competitive with Obamacare in covering the uninsured:
If Republicans try to pass legislation that covers 10 million fewer people than Obamacare, most Democrats won’t support it. And then when Obamacare’s funding streams expire, Dems will blame Republicans for the resultant turmoil. On the other hand, if Republicans draft legislation that credibly covers a comparable number of people to the ACA, then it’s Democrats who would look stubborn if they refuse to play ball.
Some conservatives believe that it’s pointless to try. “We’ll never outbid the Democrats in covering the uninsured,” they say. What they don’t realize is that they’ve unconsciously bought in to the left-wing narrative that only statism can expand access to health insurance. How many conservatives believe that bigger government will do a better job than the free market in increasing the number of Americans with smartphones, or jobs, or potatoes, for that matter?
At my new think tank, the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP), we’ve published a second edition of Transcending Obamacare, a plan that we estimate would cover 12 million more people than Obamacare with $10 trillion less spending over three decades. If you want to understand the basic contours of the plan in 10 minutes or less, read this article.