President Trump and Congress should keep this one guiding principle in mind when “reforming” Obamacare
03/12/2017 / By JD Heyes / Comments
President Trump and Congress should keep this one guiding principle in mind when “reforming” Obamacare

The House leadership has offered up what will no doubt be one of several iterations of so-called “repeal” of Obamacare, that behemoth health “reform” legislation that has entered into a death spiral after just a few short years in existence.

The new bill, called the American Health Care Act, which admittedly did pass out of another key committee at week’s end, has so far made very few lawmakers on Capitol Hill happy.

The health insurance lobby doesn’t like it. Conservatives don’t like it. Hospitals, doctors and governors in many states don’t like it.

But there’s Ryan on Friday, giving a power point to the media, almost willing them to support what many see as nothing more than Obamacare 2.0 for all the bad things they say it retains.

“This is the chance. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Ryan said, pacing along the stage with a wireless microphone, NPR reported. (RELATED: Obamacare: 1 in 4 children do not get the health care they need)

“We as Republicans have been waiting seven years to do this. We as Republicans, who fought the creation of [Obamacare], and accurately predicted it would not work, ran for office in 2010, in 2012, in 2014, in 2016, on a promise that if given the ability we would repeal and replace this law,” he said.

“This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing Obamacare. The time is here; the time is now. This is the moment.”

Ryan went on to explain that because of the complexity of the law and the manner in which it must be dismantled – partially, as a first step, through budget reconciliation, and then later, in additional phases… somehow – the bill, as written, is a good place to start.


But old Washington hands are skeptical, and who can blame them? In 2015 all Republicans in the House and Senate voted to send an Obamacare repeal bill to President Obama, who summarily vetoed it. Why not just send that bill to President Donald Trump? It’s a great question that no one in leadership seems ready to answer.

The fear is that perhaps Ryan is right; if this bill doesn’t pass, then no bill will pass, and that means the country will not only be stuck with a self-destructing healthcare system, but Republicans will pay a price in 2018 and, perhaps even Trump in 2020. And to those who don’t want to see a redux of Obama Marxism so soon – which is what will happen no matter who the Democratic winner is – failure is not an option.

Here’s the one thing that Republicans – nay, all lawmakers, and the president – should embrace when it comes to repealing and replacing Obamacare: Construct a system that empowers Americans to make their own healthcare choices – not Washington.

Because if Republicans would do that – get Uncle Sam out of the private health care equation altogether – Americans would be forever grateful.

Politically, it’s a no-brainer. Democrats who oppose that kind of “radical” plan should be put squarely on the hot seat and asked repeatedly by the GOP and by as many media figures as possible why it is they would oppose health care freedom. That’s a pretty hard position to take, telling tens of millions of voters they’re not competent or smart enough to make their own health care decisions – about what coverage plans they want and can afford, what services they are willing to pay for or forego, what prescription medications they and their doctors feel are best, and so on. (RELATED: GOP Sen. Cotton: ‘Start over’ on Obamacare replacement because current bill won’t pass)

Right now the one thing lacking in our current Obamacare-strangled system of healthcare is freedom: Freedom to choose what is and is not best for our families and ourselves.

Some elements of freedom are in the current American Health Care Act bill, such as the freedom for insurance companies to compete for customers across state lines. There may be some health savings accounts; the mandate to purchase coverage disappears (as does the mandatory tax if you don’t buy coverage), and insurance companies would still be required to cover prior conditions.

But there are penalties for Americans who do not keep continuous coverage. And other gimmicks as well, including “tax credits” which are basically just subsidies under a different name.

“There are only so many things you can do in that bill because of Senate floor rules, reconciliation,” Ryan said. “You can’t put everything you want in that legislation, because if you did it would be filibustered, and you couldn’t even bring it up for a vote in the Senate.”

Fair enough, Mr. Speaker. But to you and the rest of Congress, whatever plan you send to the president, can you make sure it contains a healthy dose of freedom for a change?

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


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