Repeal Obamacare & Add a Side of Free Markets

When the misnamed Affordable Care Act passed into law in 2009, the GOP promised to repeal it. Finally, in 2016, the voters granted the Republican Party the majorities that it had long sought—as well as control of the White House. In keeping with their promise to overturn the ACA, the GOP focused their legislative agenda on first replacing Obamacare. And, it was a flop. A majority of Republicans cared little for replacing Obamacare. They simply wanted it gone. But, the GOP leadership convinced themselves that the American people wanted more than simple repeal.

You see, according to the thinking of most conventional elected Republicans, it is not enough simply to be opposed to something. Politicians also have to be for something! There is something to this in that voters expect politicians to know and understand their principles and priorities. But it is not always necessary for Republicans to offer a policy just because Democrats have offered one on a subject. Sometimes the best policy can be no policy at all. But too many Republicans believe that once an entitlement takes hold it is impossible to get rid of it. The people would punish the party that dared try to do so.

The Beltway Logic is wrong. Sometimes simply being opposed to a bad idea is more than enough.

But, the Captains of the Conventional Wisdom who command Conservatism, Inc. would press on and say, “we can’t just be the party of ‘no.’” So, they’d rather us be the party of “yes, but…” After all, it’s bad symbolism to simply be opposed to something. As George Carlin would say, let’s leave symbols to the symbol-minded. In all of this talk about replacing Obamacare and Free Markets, we miss the entire point: average folks in America are getting squeezed by the ACA. What’s more, the ACA is set to implode under its own weight very soon, meaning that many more Americans are likely to suffer as they are left without any kind of health insurance whatsoever. And, since the Trump Administration has indicated that healthcare reform is now dead, many more Americans will suffer when the ACA does finally collapse.

Medical caregivers are required to take the Hippocratic Oath which states, “First, Do No Harm.” Similarly, lawmakers should craft laws that do the least amount of harm to the American people as possible. A repeal and replace concept, while it made for fanciful sloganeering, was the worst possible way to go. If what Ben Franklin said about politics being the “art of the possible” is true, then repealing and replacing is simply impossible. It’s one or the other. Especially in today’s toxic partisan atmosphere.

Further, the American people want their healthcare costs to go down. The GOP has maintained that its aim was to lower healthcare costs on most Americans. Repealing the ACA, which caused health insurance premiums to skyrocket would have fulfilled the GOP’s goal nicely. It was also something a majority of Republicans could get behind. What’s more, had Congressional Republicans focused on removing interstate barriers to the health insurance trade, they would have drastically lowered healthcare costs for most Americans. By neither repealing Obamacare outright nor removing the barriers to interstate health insurance trade, the Republicans have betrayed their supporters.

Plus, the bill they were working on passing was shaping up to be one of the most complex, massive bills in history.

When I worked in Congress, we passed the “Read the Bills Act.” Put simply, this was a law that required Congressmen to actually be given a reasonable amount of time to read and understand the bills that Congress voted on (before those bills were enacted into law). Talk about a novel concept! This was in the aftermath of Nancy Pelosi’s mind-boggling statement that Congress had to pass the gargantuan Affordable Care Act “to know what was in it.” On top of failing to reduce healthcare costs, then, the Ryancare bill (Obamacare Lite, as many rightly described it as) defied the spirit of the Read the Bills Act. It was all around bad governance.

In crafting something so complex (and by demanding that Congress vote on it in such short order), Paul Ryan essentially did the very thing that earned such justly deserved opprobrium for Nancy Pelosi seven years prior. Ryancare was the result of Washingtonian “wisdom” getting the better of our elected leaders. It was also a case example of why the Trump Administration cannot rely on Congressional Republicans for much in terms of crafting legislation. Frankly, there are too many divisions among Congressional Republicans. The Ryancare bill was not what Mr. Trump had campaigned on. Next time, President Trump should remember that politics is the art of the possible and it is impossible to get Congress to pass a law as controversial and complex as the Ryancare proposal was.

So, next time, Mr. President: we’ll take the repeal of Obamacare, with a side of the Free Market—but hold the replacement.

About Brandon J. Weichert

Brandon J. Weichert is a geopolitical analyst who manages The Weichert Report. He is a contributing editor at American Greatness and a contributor at Asia Times . He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers). His second book, The Shadow War: Iran's Quest for Supremacy (Republic Book Publishers) is due in Fall of 2022. Weichert is an educator who travels the country speaking to military and business audiences about space, geopolitics, technology, and the future of war. He can be followed via Twitter: @WeTheBrandon.

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10 responses to “Repeal Obamacare & Add a Side of Free Markets”

  1. Two questions.-

    [1] When is everybody going to perceive that most Republicans in Congress are working only for Big Business?

    This explains most of their inability simply to repeal Obamacare and allow a free market in health insurance.

    [2] When are Republican voters going to sack them, replacing THEM with patriots who actually care for the USA and its citizens?

    • Those are two of the hardest questions to answer I’ve ever seen. The simplest answer is:

      “When they become angry enough.”

  2. Great article. However, the sentence:

    “But, the GOP leadership convinced themselves that the American people wanted more than simple repeal.”

    is incorrect in two areas. First of all, it wasn’t “GOP leadership”, it was “RINO leadership which controls the GOP”.

    Secondly, “the American people DO want more than simple repeal”, including the entitlement monkeys living on the taxpayers. The differenceis that “taxpayers” want competion to provide the solution, not legislation designed to enrich insurance companies.

  3. Here you go:

    Alabama congressman files one-sentence bill to repeal ObamaCare

    An Alabama congressman introduced a one-sentence bill in the House Friday to repeal ObamaCare.

    Republican Rep. Mo Brooks introduced the bill as the Obamacare Repeal Act, reported.

    “Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted,” the bill states.

    Brooks introduced the bill after he announced he would oppose the Republican health care measure which was later pulled from a House floor vote because it did not have enough support to pass. . . [my emphasis]

    /Mr Lynn

  4. Author is an idiot. I sit in North Georgia and I know that there are not 50 votes in the Senate for repeal.

    • If so, next time around the people will guarantee there will be a lot of different people in those seats. Repeal, don’t replace. Drive a stake through it.

  5. The free market influence (specifically the insurance industry) on medical care is why things are as bad as they are now. Insurance companies are there to turn a profit, not to “help” when you need it. The idea that a free market system is interested in your well-being is naive. To your insurance carrier you are nothing but a revenue source to be exploited to the fullest and discarded once you can no longer pay into their vast coffers.

    Turning those most craven businesses loose to have free reign on the citizenry is irresponsible and immoral.

  6. Allow the ACA (0bamacare) to implode and have it be a legacy for the Democratic Party. The government should not be in the insurance business and allow the free market to reign. All medical insurance costs including catastrophic insurance must be deductible from income taxes. No State boundaries.
    Retirees and the poverty level citizens should be covered by Insurance Companies with each taking a percentage of them. Incentives should go to the Insurance Companies who step up with coverage.

  7. Mr. Weichert, apparently, didn’t notice that it was President Trump who insisted in repeal and replace. And his utopian love of market-driven insurance is what brought us Obamacare in the first place. My guess is that Mr. Weichert is among the very comfortable and very affluent who have just wonderful insurance. Geez.

    • When did we have market-driven insurance in this country? And, no, I am neither comfortable nor affluent at the moment–but why should that matter at all to this conversation?