Obamacare

Republicans Declare Opposition to a Government Takeover of Health Care

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The GOP is against a government takeover of health-care. Officially!

House Republicans have released a draft of a leadership-approved alternative health-care reform proposal. And on the very first page, they indulge in a bit of legislative self-actualization by explaining the "purpose" of the bill in the form of a list of all the things it avoids, including "instituting a government takeover of health care."

Well, that's a relief.

So what's in the bill? According to Politico, House Minority Leader John Boehner explained that it would focus less on providing universal insurance and more on driving down costs as a way to expand access.

Boehner said that the 230-page proposal, which blends elements from a number of existing bills, would accomplish this by "letting families buy health insurance across state lines, allowing small businesses to pool together and offer health insurance to their employees at much lower costs, just like big businesses and unions can today, giving states the tools to create innovative reforms that lower costs and ending junk lawsuits that contribute to high health care costs."

Naturally, liberals have been dismissive, portraying it as a handout to insurers that's based on old ideas long proven ineffective.

Given the marginal impact a proposal such as this is likely to make, I suspect most liberal critics are just using this as an easy opportunity to bash the GOP. A bill like this is largely an opposition formality, designed to get a little bit of attention and stake out a swath of alternative-policy territory. I don't care for all of it—the bill's position on Medicare cuts, in particular, shows how dangerous Michael Steele's pandering defense of the program was. But think it's good to see Republicans taking a little more interest in being proactive on health-care policy, and I genuinely hope this is a sign that, in the future, it's not an issue they'll ignore, which is essentially what happened when the party was in power (the 2007 effort to get rid of the employer tax exclusion was probably their best effort, and it was half-hearted).

Yet even now, judging by the purpose statement, the party is defining its bill largely by what it doesn't allow—tax hikes, cuts to Medicare benefits, higher deficits, government takeovers, etc—and focusing less on what it actually does. On health-care, the Republican party is clearly against a lot of things, but it's had a tough time figuring out what it's really for.

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  1. It’s only 230 pages, compared to Pelosi’s 1900? More pages is better, don’t you see?

  2. 230 pages? How can you legislate anything in 230 pages? That’s almost short enough to read.

  3. “But think it’s good to see Republicans taking a little more interest in being proactive on health-care policy, and I genuinely hope this is a sign that, in the future, it’s not an issue they’ll ignore, which is essentially what happened when the party was in power (the 2007 effort to get rid of the employer tax exclusion was probably their best effort, and it was half-hearted).”

    Because the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 was all but a dream.

    Who writes this crap? Oh yeah, Michael Steele hater Peter Suderman.

    1. Why does Peter hate black people?

  4. lol Enough!

  5. […] the Republican party is clearly against a lot of things, but it’s had a tough time figuring out what it’s really for.

    This pretty much sums up both the GOP, and it’s why I find them hard to get excited about. IMHO, they’d get much farther by framing their positions in positive terms. Hope, change, and all that.

  6. That’s so the right note to hit. Nothing turns libertarians off like being against stuff.

    1. Yes, we all hate the Ramones.

  7. the 2007 effort to get rid of the employer tax exclusion was probably their best effort, and it was half-hearted

    They passed a tax change to make individual-bought health insurance have the same tax treatment a couple of times under Clinton, and then continually attached it to other bills since, that were then filibustered.

    It’s sort of half-hearted, but it is a half-hearted thing that they did repeatedly.

  8. On health-care, the Republican party is clearly against a lot of things, but it’s had a tough time figuring out what it’s really for.

    Reason has found its new Weigal!!!

    Anyway this is probably the only thing the Republicans have done in what seems like 10 million years that a libertarian might actually agree with and Pete complains that he is having trouble understanding what Republicans are for.

    Fucking brilliant.

    1. Peter has trouble understanding lots of things. But to compare him to Weigel? No way. Weigel doesn’t derserve a slight like that.

  9. Just be thankful we have Republicans to save us from a government takeover of Medicare!

    1. A greatfulnation thanks them.

    2. Bla bla bla we all know the Republicans are the most impotent opposition party ever. In fact they are so bad Beck, Limbaugh and hell even the blue dog dems have left them in the dust.

      Still when they actually do something you should give a dog his due.

      By the way this is classic Weigal. He would constantly write stories about republicans and libertarians is which every time they did a good thing he would wrap around it a huge conflagration of bullshit and misdirection about how it was all the wrong motive or the wrong time or to late or to soon or what the fuck ever so long as 90% of the story was about some small slight rather then about what actually happened.

  10. C’mon guys. Why don’t we just go for the Canada model? There’s no preferential treatment, no elites. Everyone’s equal there!

    1. Perfect example of the lunacy of thinking that single-payer health-care is more “fair” than the free market.

      At least in the free market, you have the explicit fairness of paying value for value. In a socialized system, the government distributes favors to the connected. Always has.

      Anyone who thinks that rationing of scare resources by the state would be done in some pristinely ethical fashion doesn’t understand politics.

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