Still Waiting for GOPCare

February 16th, 2010 at 5:00 pm | 12 Comments |

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Republicans do not like debating healthcare reform. They are preparing to enter into the healthcare summit with one clear demand: to see the Senate Bill scrapped. This position is an inflexible one, so no compromise with Obama should be expected. Unfortunately for Republicans, the healthcare issue will not go away.

Conservatives have tried to make the case that the current bill is as objectionable to Republicans as a single-payer plan from Bernie Sanders’ office. Although the public option has been scraped in the Senate bill, Joseph Antos of AEI argues that the Democrats’ ambition to take on several different aspects of healthcare is its ultimate undoing: “Their policy objectives are too broad. You end up layering provision over provision. There are overlapping policies trying to solve and resolve problems.”

David Gratzer of the Manhattan Institute warns that Republicans still have to confront the fact that opposition to a bill is not the same as presenting policy, “Democrats lost this battle but they are winning this fundamental war.” Gratzer argues that Democrats still retain a long-term political advantage over Republicans because they have a genuine interest in the healthcare issue and have invested more intellectual resources in at least constructing healthcare proposals.  Democrats, unlike most Republicans, at least recognize that the status-quo on healthcare is undesirable.

The danger is that if Republicans secure several victories in 2010, they will fall back into the pattern of asserting that while American healthcare may not be perfect, that it is still superior to other countries. The combination of a lack of Republican initiative – and an unwillingness to compromise – threatens stalemate.

Conservatives and libertarians have produced reams of literature on the problem of healthcare rationing in nations such as Canada. However, a critique of why Canadians wait months for vital surgery does not provide an actual solution to the recent college graduate who is trying to get affordable healthcare.

Recent Posts by Noah Kristula-Green



12 Comments so far ↓

  • kevin47

    McCain presented a policy. It was sensible. Obama demagogued it, and the voters went with him. Why would Republicans present the same thing voters rejected? The Democrats wanted to go this route. Let them defend it. When it fails, propose something different.

    Can someone (moderate or conservative, I know what the left-wing screwballs here think) explain why this is not a reasonable strategy?

  • mike farmer

    There have been several plans presented the Republicans would have voted on. They will also present something to Obama at the summit. So, what are you talking about? This sounds like Democrat talking points. Seriously, what is FrumForum about? There is talk out of both sides of the mouths here. This is the problem I have with what curretly attempts to pass as “moderate” or “centrist” – it’s meaningless, just a bunch of grumbling about conservatives and libertarians and talk show hosts and tea parties — what do you want to see happen? What do you propose? Criticizing conservatives is not a strategy. I think centrism has come to mean marginalized and grumpy.

  • JonF

    McCain’s proposals were. ay best, a good start. But as a comprehensive solution they fell way short. Also, one reality that I think everyone must acknowledge is that the majority of voters who are more or less happy with their healthcare do not want it changed, except maybe some tinkering at the margin to imrpove it. In that regard the McCain proposals, which attacked employer health benefits head on, were a political non-starter, and less doable in the real world than the Dem’s current bill.

  • sinz54

    The McCain “solution” to the problem of pre-existing conditions was inadequate.

    The problem with state high-risk pools, which he proposed, is that the premiums are necessarily so high that many Americans just won’t be able to afford them. (My dialysis and allied surgeries and medicines cost some $90,000 a year. Fred Thompson’s lymphoma treatments cost $100,000 a year. If I were stuck with all other chronically ill Americans into a high-risk pool, our premiums would be astronomical.)

    And states strapped for cash can’t afford the massive subsidies required. So you still end up with massive Federal subsidies to these Americans, though indirectly through block grants to states. It’s no way to save money.

    And McCain’s idea that allowing Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines is going to hold down health care costs is false. Health insurance premiums are rising all over the country. Whether the insurer is for-profit or not-for-profit.

    I live in MA. If I bought health insurance from another state, I might realize a one-time saving, but the premiums will keep rising steadily from then on, year after year.

    It’s the cost of health CARE itself that keeps rising, as the population ages and the huge baby-boomer cohort finally hits retirement age.

    Note also that purchasing insurance from out of state works only for fee-for-service and some PPO policies, not for HMOs. Because most HMOs and some PPOs come with a network of preferred providers. That network is local to the region in which the issuer resides.

    For example, Harvard-Pilgrim offers a nice HMO in MA where I live. But all the doctors in Harvard-Pilgrim’s network are in New England. How does that help a resident of Ohio or California who is seeking to purchase insurance? They can’t travel to New England every time they need to see a doctor! McCain didn’t even realize that this was a problem.

    Finally, as far as I can recall, McCain had nothing to say about the skyrocketing cost of Medicare. And yet America spends more on care for the elderly–in fact, care for the elderly in their final year of life–than for anyone else. And as the huge baby-boom cohort retires, that amount is really going to explode.

  • balconesfault

    And yet America spends more on care for the elderly–in fact, care for the elderly in their final year of life–than for anyone else.

    And try proposing any sort of solution for that aside from completely eliminating government involvement in providing healthcare to seniors (ie – rationing by free market fiat).

    Death Panels!

  • mike farmer

    Euthanasia! Invent an Old Person Pill — something that creates beautiful hallucinations and kills them in 24 hours — tell they are going a trip and need this pill for motion sickness — give it to them when they drop below the Usefulness Scale when the cost of keeping them alive exceeds the love for them left in their family.

  • Jim_M

    GOPCare? Is the author assuming that health care/insurance solutions will be hatched in…Congress?

    All we want is affordable and portable medical insurance. Here’s is what Congress can do. De-claw the malpractice lawyers, allow insurance company’s to complete for your dollar across state lines. That’s pretty much it. Remember, Washington consumes, it does not produce. We can fix this. But first you have to admit that over reaching government is responsible for much of our health care systems ills.

  • balconesfault

    allow insurance company’s to complete for your dollar across state lines.

    Yeah, because we all know that credit card companies have been falling over one another competing to reduce penalties and interest rates.

    Remember, Washington consumes, it does not produce.

    Yep. And that oil I put in my crankcase every few thousand miles is going to waste, since it doesn’t actually propel the car. We should all just send that oil to the refinery, turn it into gasoline, and reap the benefits.

  • sinz54

    balconesfault: Death Panels!
    One solution is already being employed, and could be expanded.

    During many of my hospital visits, the nurses will offer me a “Do Not Resuscitate” form to sign. By signing it, I am choosing to not be resuscitated in the event of cardiac arrest.

    By signing such a form, I can prevent my ending up like Terri Schaivo–a brain-dead vegetable kept alive artificially at huge expense to society.

    A simple way to save some money would be to require everyone applying for health insurance to be given one of these forms, so they would at least consider signing it. No one can complain about that, since it’s entirely voluntary to sign it or not as one chooses. But each American should at least consider what he wants done when at the end of his life.

  • GOProud

    Noah, YOU may still be waiting for GOPCare to be unveiled for your review… but you’re one of the few –and that’s “few” because any twit with a computer and search engine can find dozens of GOPCare proposals with viable, do-able, prudent changes with long and short term constructive systemic impact on 1) rising medical costs, 2) health insurance reform and 3) expanding access & 4) portability of health care coverage. Gheesh, have you been sleeping or what?

    Is it that you want some grand stamp of all the proposals pulled into a single GOP plan, endorsed and approved by every single registered member of the GOP and signed notarized signatures of all GOP office holders above dog-catcher on the plan? Cause if that’s the tresh-hold, let me know when you cross it on any issue, any time in history ok?

    Get real, Noah.

    GOP leaders have been proposing prudent reforms that have policy legs back into the Reagan and Bush 41, 43 administrations. That you can’t capture that notion doesn’t mean there’s no GOP Care plan. It just means you’re capacity to fathom simple undergraduate level research is beyond your skill set.

    Christ, does the FrumForum let anyone blog here now without even pre-reading this nonsense?

  • kevin47

    “Yeah, because we all know that credit card companies have been falling over one another competing to reduce penalties and interest rates.”

    Um, no, but they have fallen over each other to reduce (or eliminate) annual premiums and increase cardholder benefits. This is a very, very poor argument against interstate competition.

    McCain’s plan might not have been perfect, but it is a vastly superior starting point to the mess congress is presently considering.

  • Demosthenes

    The truth is the policies don’t matter; only the politics. Sen. DeMint honestly said the Republican strategy — kill HCR, and no matter how watered down the package is, and no matter how many Republican ideas are adopted, the Republican Party is not interested in anything other than stopping it, and then using their “victory” preserving the profits of the insurance companies as a campaign tool in November. The Republican Party knows that HCR would be very popular once it is passed, implemented, and responsible for saving lives.

    Are the Republicans cynical? Yes. Does this position harm the American people (other than the health insurance companies)? Yes. Is this nihilist strategy shrewd? Yes — but only if the Republican succeed.