Since the divisive passage of the ironically titled “Affordable” Care Act, the Republican Party has with earnest been attempting to both repeal and replace former President Obama’s signature legislation. For almost the complete duration of Mr. Obama’s two terms, such a mission was completely futile; there was simply no way he would have signed into law the substitution of his landmark triumph (I use the word generously) for an alternative crafted by his political rivals.
Those days are over.
In lockstep with efforts to undermine the ACA were cries from the Left that the GOP was unprepared to replace it, that they had no plan. The Democrats played upon the worst fears of the American public and, for the most part, were completely unsuccessful as evidenced by their humiliating losses in 2010, 2014, and November of 2016. Their fatuous criticisms were, from the beginning, part and parcel of the many bold-faced lies that have come to define them as a party struggling to retain relevance in the face of an electorate increasingly hostile to their prurient identity politics and blind faith worship of government as our cradle-to-grave savior.
A quick perusal of websites for the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the National Center for Policy Analysis, the Mercatus Center, the Cato Institute, and others, reveal myriad alternatives to the government takeover of health insurance and healthcare as embodied by the ACA. There was never any reason to believe the “they have no plan” lie. It was false six years ago, and its falsity is even more apparent today.
Last Wednesday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul unveiled The Obamacare Replacement Act. The beauty of this legislation is its simplicity, a description that could have never been applied to the behemoth legislation it seeks to remove, the legislation Nancy Pelosi once famously said must be passed first “so that you can find out what is in it.” More important than its powerful brevity, Senator Paul’s legislation differs from the ACA in one significant way.
Plainly said, the Affordable Care Act was written by insurance companies, for insurance companies. Perhaps no greater evidence of this is the momentous contribution to its creation by Liz Fowler. Miss Fowler infamously (maybe not infamously enough) left her cushy job with insurance giant Wellpoint to join the ranks of Max Baucus’ Finance Committee, which was tasked with giving birth to the abomination of Obamacare. When her work was finished she returned to the private sector.
More evidence is the $150 million paid out in advertising by Big Pharma to sugar coat the ACA for easy consumption by the American people. The reward from the White House amounted to not much more than the same old corporatist favoritism that has come to typify the healthcare industry and many other market sectors. In short, Obamacare was created and passed not so much out of concern for the health and well-being of the American public – a public deemed suitably stupid enough to get it passed by co-ACA architect Jonathan Gruber – but instead out of concern for Washington, D.C.’s big business cronies in the health insurance and Pharma industries.
What better way could there be to line the pockets of big business interests than to allow them to write a piece of legislation that mandates everyone buy their product? The ACA was, from the start, a scam, nothing more and nothing less. It’s a mind-boggling wonder so many people still believe whole-heartedly in its fictional compassion and efficacy.
And that’s where the major difference lies between the ACA and the Obamacare Replacement Act. Senator Rand Paul is himself a doctor and has been for the better part of his career. He has been elbow deep in the machinations of healthcare and insurance, he understands it better than his colleagues in either house of congress and in either party. The Obamacare Replacement Act was written by a doctor, for patients.
Among other things, Senator Paul’s legislation provides protections for those with pre-existing conditions and makes insurance accessible over state lines. It provides an ample tax credit for Health Savings Accounts and expands the number of products which are available to be purchased with those savings. The replacement plan also gives individuals more options when choosing which pools to join when purchasing insurance. In effect, Senator Paul’s plan puts control over healthcare and insurance into the hands of the people and out of the purview of faceless bureaucrats in a distant capital and their corporate masters.
Senator Paul has no corporate cronies to whom he must bend the knee, his primary concern is truly the best interests of the people of our country. Unlike the slow-motion catastrophe it seeks to replace, his plan doesn’t require sleight of hand or preying upon the American people as did the ACA. Mr. Gruber said passage of the ACA depended upon the stupidity of the American people, but there’s a fatal flaw in his conceit: The American people believed a lie, but that doesn’t make us stupid. It makes Mr. Gruber and his cronies in academia, Big Pharma, the health insurance lobby, congress, and the Obama administration deceptive villains.
The Democrats under Mr. Obama had a plan they didn’t understand and were unable to sell to the American people without resorting to outright lies. All the while they decried their Republican colleagues for not having a plan of their own which, in its own right, is also a lie. Due to the efforts of Senator Paul, the obvious and constant myth that there exists no replacement is now, once and for all, dead. The Republicans, under Senator Paul’s astute leadership, have risen to the occasion and put the ball into the Democrats’ court. It is now incumbent upon them to explain to the American people why they should continue to trust a party the voters hobbled through three elections, a party controlled by corporate masters interested only in their own benefit. It is time for the Democrats to explain why the unified majority party, one put into power by the people to do exactly what they’re doing now, should not be allowed to fulfill the mandates given them in 2010, 2014, and 2016.
There is often honor in fighting a losing battle, but not always. Frequently, the doomed fight makes for an ugly epitaph on a long-overdue tombstone: Here lies the Democratic Party, whose victories were reliant upon tricking the American people into succumbing to the abuses of big businesses it publicly denounced but privately enriched, all under the phony disguise of compassion.