The GOP's Many Bad Options For Fighting Obamacare



With Obamacare enrollment starting in just two weeks, and subsidized insurance coverage going into effect at the beginning of the year, congressional Republicans are attempting to make a last-ditch effort to take down the law before its biggest provisions go into effect. But so far, the party hasn't been able to coalesce around a strategy, or even a firm demand.

That's probably because none of the ideas floated so far are likely to do real damage to the health law and pave the way to better policy. 

The idea that kicked off the push was to insist that any continuing resolution to fund the government also defund Obamacare. The House would pass a funding bill with no money for Obamacare. And then the Senate and the White House would have to sign it in order to prevent a government shut down.

But there are a bunch of problems with this plan. There's simply no reason to believe that President Obama or Senate Democrats would actually sign a continuing resolution that defunds the health law. Instead, they'd refuse. The government would shut down. And then, polls strongly suggest, Republicans would be blamed.

Now, there's an argument to be made that a government shutdown wouldn't be so bad. But here's the thing: A government shutdown wouldn't stop the implementation of Obamacare, according to the Congressional Research Service. Funding for the implementation process would continue. What a shutdown almost certainly would do is put a lot of public pressure on Republicans to give up and let Democrats take a win—as happened in the 1990s. (The polls on this are pretty clear: The public doesn't like Obamacare, but they like government shutdowns even less.) And if and when that happens, Republicans stand to lose gains they've made on federal spending through the sequestration as well.

That's what the defunding strategy gets the GOP: a loss on Obamacare, a loss on public opinion, and a loss on the sequestration spending restraint the party already won.

Others have proposed a different approach: Not defund, but delay. A coalition of activist groups have pushed delay as an alternative to defunding, arguing that it has a better chance of success. Over at The Weekly Standard, conservative health wonks James Capretta and Jeffrey Anderson make the case. Part of it is that the administration has already set the precedent, delaying the employer mandate and some of the law's verification procedures. Part of it is that the public appears more amenable to delay than defunding.

It's a much better, much more sensible argument than the one made by the defunders. But it still fails to solve the fundamental problem, which is that any delay effort will still require the acquiescence of both Senate Democrats and President Obama. That's just not likely. As Capretta and Anderson say, "Defunding Obamacare would achieve essentially the same result as delaying it, as each would temporarily prevent the overhaul from going into effect." Senate Democrats know this. So does President Obama. Which means they are about as likely to agree to a delay as to defund.

A final strategy is more limited: Push for a delay of the individual mandate only. Republicans might try this by either bargaining down from a request for a more comprehensive delay, or by simply making it their main demand.

It's unlikely that this would work either, because the Senate and White House roadblocks would be still be extremely difficult to surmount. But it's not quite unthinkable.

After all, a lot of Democrats were never quite thrilled with the insurance requirement. President Obama campaigned against the individual mandate during his first presidential run. Nearly two dozen House Democrats have already voted to delay the mandate. It's the least popular part of the law. Both Rasmussen and Reason-Rupe polls have found broad majority support for delaying the individual mandate. And the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that nixing the individual mandate would reduce the deficit by reducing the number of people who get subsidies through the exchanges. 

Yet if it did somehow pass, there are serious risks to this strategy as well. For one thing, CBO also said that individual market premiums would rise without an individual mandate in place. The taxpayer funded subsidies, meanwhile, would remain in place—meaning that spending through the law wouldn't be halted.

The biggest risk, however, is that in addition to gumming up the works for Obamacare, it also undermines the entire individual insurance market. That's because a delay of the mandate wouldn't merely be intended to remove an unpopular provision from the health law. It would be intended as a way to cause Obamacare to meltdown.

It's a strategy built on the understanding that the mandate is the lynchpin to the law, and that the individual insurance market would enter a death spiral—of higher and higher premiums and fewer and fewer covered individuals—without it. That's exactly what happened in a handful of states that passed Obamacare-style insurance regulations without a mandate. Once the death spiral starts, the thinking goes, the whole law becomes much easier for the GOP to repeal.

Maybe. Or maybe Republicans get blamed for the collapse and the headaches that result—and Democrats have an opportunity to pass an even more sweeping health law instead. Or maybe the fight over reform escalates, and nothing happens, and the subsidies remain on the books while the individual market becomes more and more dysfunctional. The point is, even if it passes—which is merely highly unlikely rather than utterly implausible—it's a hugely risky strategy, at best, and could eventually result in even worse health policy. 

The truth is that Republicans don't have much in the way of good options to fight Obamacare in Congress. What they can do, however, is try to avoid risky strategies that could backfire and do more harm than good. 

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  1. Let DemocratCare be “implemented” however it can be. The trainwreck will help the GOP in the midterms.

    1. And we all end up the casualties of said trainwreck.

      1. And then overturn it in House and Senate in early Jan of 2015.

        The override the veto.

    2. Yeah! That’ll teach us!

    3. He’s got a point. The more the GOP resists the more ‘plausible deniability’ the Dems. They just pin the failure on GOP footdragging. It’s pretty much gonna happen anyway so why not just act “bipartisan” to make a clearer case when it fails.

      1. *…the Dems have when it goes sideways*

  2. That’s because they are fighting the wrong frigging battle.

    Obamacare us a loosing issue for Republicans no matter what happens because all roads lead to either Obamacare succeeding beyond the administrations wildest dreams and ensuring at least 8 years of Democratic presidencies following his departure from office, or the Republicans being blamed for Obamacare’s failure.

    The correct course would have been to come up with a BETTER plan than Obamacare and then pushed to replace Obamacare with it, that however would have required risk taking and vision.

    1. Technically, default WAS a better plan than Obamacare.

    2. Repeal and replace!

      1. Why waste time on the repeal, just repalce the damn thing

    3. I know its the Dem’s, and the DemOp media’s, plan to hang OCare’s inevitable failures on the obstructionist teathuglicans.

      I just question whether that will work, and whether Repubs should let the prospect of taking a hit deter them from doing the right thing.

      1. And they need to remember the media will blame them anyway. They have nothing to lose by shutting down the government. I don’t understand why they can’t figure that out. No matter what they do the media is going to hate them and blame all of the country’s problems on them. So, they might as well do the right thing and for once do something their supporters actually want and no worry about it.

        1. But John, they’d have to have some friggin’ principles in order to do that.

          The Republican Party gave up on principles a long long time ago. And they hate people like Rand Paul for even dreaming of bringing any of them back.

          1. Exactly. If they don’t do it is it because they are stupid and or craven. Shame on Sudderman and Reason for making excuses for them and talking about how they just have no other option but to surrender.

            1. Should they write their friends a bad check, because their friends will so appreciate of the thought?

            2. Should they write their friends a bad check, because their friends will so appreciate the thought?

        2. The media will blame them, but having something big to blame them for will make the voters less likely to trust them with governing. So yeah, don’t try something you’re sure to lose just to show your friends you’re still their friends. Your friends will understand.

    4. Yeah, replaced with the Get The Government The Fuck Out Of Health Care Bill. What did you think we were talking about?

      1. I’ve been supportive of the GTGTFOOHC Bill for quite some time. I’ve always struggled with pronouncing the acronym, though.

  3. I dont buy the basic premise of the article. How does funding the government lead to blame for the stutdown but vetoing/not passing the funding doesnt get blamed?

    1. Because Republicans, that’s why.

    2. Because Funding = Bill Signed by Obama. Proposed Funding (Bill Passed by the House) is not the same as Funding.

    3. Because the media will not report it as a two sides standoff. it will be reported as Republicans holding the dems/ country hostage.

      This is a losing battle.

      1. This is what the Dems and the DC Establishment types want you to believe.

        Defund the extremely unpopular Obamacare and let Harry Reid and Obama shut down the government.

        1. I feel like I’m at the barricade in Les Miserables and SIV-Enroljas is telling us the entire city of Paris is going to rise up and join the revolution ANY MINUTE NOW.

        2. You don’t remember how the federal shutdowns of the 1980s & 1990s redounded to the ill of the GOP? I do. They overestimated their position, the news biz eviscerated them, voters believed the news biz, GOP lost ground.

    4. ya, I think that is the battle they should be fighting. All the spending does not have to be in one big bill. Pass the spending they do like, and don’t pass the spending they don’t like. Tell the Senate to screw off if they want to do any of the normal meet-in-a-committee crap. All spending shall originate in the House.

      1. That. Fund DOD and the various other popular parts of the government separately and put it on Obama’s desk.

      2. I was (implicitly at least) wrong. It’s really “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives”. My bad.

        Doesn’t change the strategy at all though.

  4. “What they can do, however, is try to avoid risky strategies that could backfire and do more harm than good.”

    This sure-fire risk-free political strategy is usually summed up as “And A Miracle Occurs”.

    1. That risk of doing more harm than good applies strictly to their narrow, short-term political interests.

      Which, I know, consumes 99% of their brains, but still, lets be clear that we aren’t talking about harming anything other than that.

      1. That’s what you think. They lose elections, limitation of gov’t loses strength. It’s not just the politicians; the policies themselves lose support at the top, and even to a large extent at the bottom.

  5. If the law keeps moving forward, it’ll be like most other entitlement programs–entrenched. The Dems will argue it needs tweaking, and the GOP will feel like they have to go along.

    I’m not going to claim to know what the most feasible strategy is right now, but the GOP should be clear that they oppose the law altogether and intend to end it as soon as possible. A free market alternative, which would be mostly laws undoing as many government tentacles as possible, would be a really good idea, too.

    At the very least, they need to push hard for delaying most of the law’s implementation. If that doesn’t work, then more draconian approaches make sense. Frankly, I think the GOP has been totally moronic waiting this long to act.

    1. Agreed.

      From the moment they took over the House, EVERY bill should have ended Obamacare.


      Nothing should have got out of House/Senate committee without it still attached.

      1. Conference, not committee.

        That thingy they do when bills differ.

        1. I’m just a bill, yes I’m only a bill..

        2. reconciliation…and it is an abomination. PASS ONE FUCKING BILL!

      2. I mean, the law is clearly unpopular and getting more so all of the time. Why not fight it tooth and nail? Why not be the party that totally opposes a loser law? Repudiate and kill.

        They should also be vocal about the Supreme Court being utterly and absolutely wrong about the tax bullshit and try to find a way to limit the damage of that horrific ruling.

        1. See below. Repeal all of Obamacare, replace with an entitlement equal to 20% of the salaries and benefits of federal workers not hired by this replacement. Its a huge win for the ‘phants. And, frankly, the statists. But think of all the litigation and regulatory burden saved. I say we push for this, declare victory, and move back to fighting over “the entitlements are too damned high!”

    2. and intend to end it as soon as possible.

      Don’t end it… mend it!

      1. Rend it, stomp it, burn it with fire.

    3. The problem is that Obamacare is not entitlement program. It doesn’t hand out checks. It is a giant regulatory, tax and law enforcement scheme. So, it is never going to be popular. The only people who are ever going to defend it or claim it can’t be repealed are Democrats who have no choice and people like Sudderman who are afraid his liberal friends won’t like him anymore if he tells the truth.

      1. Well, sort of. The “handout” provisions, like no pre-existing conditions and keeping kids on until 26, are naturally popular.

        1. Right, but thats only a small part of this. Most of it is a socialization scheme that uses mandates and regulations to socialize costs as opposed to taxes and spending.

          The “free shit” doesn’t sho up as much here. Though there are some that get a handout, most people in this see some combination of higher premiums, worse healthcare, higher taxes or less choice/ control over the plans they want.

          There is a reaosn why this was not popular but say Medicare D was, because the latter was just shoveling out free shit and taking debt to pay for it. This thing isn’t.

          1. Exactly. I said that at the time it was passed. This is not Social Security or medicare. It will never be popular.

      2. It’s not even a paranoid secret that some among the Democratic leadership want single payer. That’s where the fight will go next, and that might be an easier argument to make than an attempt to let market forces control healthcare and insurance.

        1. They want single payer but they are delusional. There is no money left for single payer. That ship sailed when TARP and Obama finished the job Bush started of bankrupting the government. And for single payer to happen, the medical insurance industry has to agree to allow itself to be outlawed. Doubtful.

          1. Dude, they don’t think they’re bankrupting the government, because they believe that magical pixies allow the government to tax us to death, spend money we don’t have, and play games with the money supply without consequence.

            They’ll push for single-payer, they’ll continue to support mass welfare and impossible-to-maintain Social Security, and they’ll spend, spend, spend, until the smoke and mirrors stop working.

            1. They will push, but they will never get it. To get it they would have to get another 60 vote majority in the Senate and another black President no one was willing to criticize. Maybe that will happen again. But I doubt it.

              1. Why not? While I think the GOP is going to ride the wave of success for the next couple of elections, that can be quickly undone. And we still have a number of identity groups to elevate to the White House, too.

                We’re not very far away from those who are on the dole being a permanent majority.

                1. Because 60 votes in the Senate is really hard to get. The Country is too evenly divided. The Dems only got it on a fluke last time.

                  1. We’re fluked, either way.

          2. An doctors who are already starting to rebel against Medicare’s bureaucratic provisions would have to agree to accept the payment on whatever terms the government legislates.

            Odds are the medical Industry would end any attempt to impose single payer by going on strike

            1. You’d think so. Yet I am always surprised at how many medical professionals favor universal healthcare programs (single payer is not the only such plan).

              1. That is because they like the idea of more patients from universal health care. Problem is when it comes to implementation and you basically end up telling them…

                “The private practice that you spent the last 10 years building is being closed by the government, you will henceforth become an employee of the state making a salary of $x and working under the direction of supervisors appointed by the regional medicare administrator”

                Sure there are other forms of Universal Health Care which are not quite so explicit but they all eventually end up at this end with the sole exception of a Universal Health Care system where the government provides everyone with a Health Savings Account and makes contributions to it for them, a plan which could never get passed because it results in a massive loss of government power.

                1. Huh. I thought it was because they are a bunch of useless twerps who buy all that “government knows best” shit. (well, they aren’t all useless, but GPs are damn close to useless).

                  I don’t have a very positive attitude about the medical profession at the moment.

          3. “They want single payer but they are delusional.”

            Yes,so? When has that stopped them? They’ve been delusional about Obamacare?

      3. Its like the EITC: a welfare/entitlement program administered by the IRS.

    4. I think you might be wrong about that.

      The ACA subsidizes premiums. But it doesn’t subsidize them 100%. It’s also means tested. So if you are middle class or higher, it’s likely you won’t be getting much in subsidies, and what you do get won’t make up for the huge increase in premiums.

      A lot of people are going to be fucking pissed off when they find out they are still expected to pay $100 /month in premiums even after the subsidies.

      Remember that Social Security and Medicare are entrenched because EVERYONE benefits. SS benefits are loosely proportional to how much you pay in. Medicare benefits are equal.

      Not so for the ACA. The ACA’s subsidies are WELFARE. They go disproportionately to the poor.

  6. The GOP is too busy causing ocean acidification. They don’t have time to repeal ObamaCare.

  7. But there are a bunch of problems with this plan. There’s simply no reason to believe that President Obama or Senate Democrats would actually sign a continuing resolution that defunds the health law. Instead, they’d refuse. The government would shut down. And then, polls strongly suggest, Republicans would be blamed.



    I don’t know why Sudderman keeps repeating this like it is so self evident. All polls show people hate Obamacare. Why would the voters blame the GOP for shutting down the government to kill a law they hate? Why wouldn’t they blame the Democrats for shitting down the government because they are too stubborn to admit the law is a failure?

    I could see it going either way. Certainly the media will try to blame it on the GOP. But so what? That is what they do. Why does Sudderman take this as an article of faith?

    1. People hate Obamacare, but they hate Republicans even more.

      1. The election results in the House say otherwise. If people hated Republicans even more, the Republicans wouldn’t own the House and a filibuster minority in the Senate.

        1. And if the Republicans forced a government shut down they’d lose both.

          1. No they wouldn’t. They didn’t lose both in 1996., That is fucking retarded sarcasmic. Most people don’t pay attention and don’t give a shit. The shutdown would be forgotten within a week.

            1. I’ll agree with this. After life went on as normal after the shut down (and more recently the SEKWESTA!) it made the doomsday statists look pretty bad.

    2. “Why wouldn’t they blame the Democrats for shitting down the government because they are too stubborn to admit the law is a failure?”

      Because thats not how the 24/7 media/propoganda machine will be reporting it. It wouldnt be reported as a two sided game of chicken. It will be regurgitating dem talking points of the GOP is holding the country hostage.

      This is a losing battle.

      The GOP needs to win an election. If they want to get rid of Obamacare then win the next two cycles and stop throwing senate seats away by saying stupid shit re: rape.

      1. And when they when an election people like Suderman and you will be hear to tell t hem they can’t really change anything because the media won’t like it. Fuck that. They did win an election. They won control of the House. If they are not willing to stand up and do what they told their supporters they would do, there is no reason for them to win anymore.

      2. The GOP needs to win an election.

        They already did. People voted the GOP into the House in 2012 in order to get rid of Obamacare.

        They have failed in their mission.

        1. They didn’t win the senate or the president, which will both be required.

          And no John, I won’t be saying oh the media doesn’t like it. But there is zero way this thing can get defunded unless the dems go along with it.

          Even if you think the dems will lose the media wars over a shut down so deeply (which they won’t) why do you think the dems, the party that as an essance too their very existance wants nationalized health insurance, the party that ignored public outcry in 2009-2010, the party that got crushed in 2010 and still soldiers on would ever scrap this thing?

          As long as a shutdown hurts the gop, a shutdown only reduces the chance of it getting reppealed. The only way this thing is getting repealled is if the GOP takes the senate and either has a GOP president as well, or a veto proof majority.

    3. Because there’s evidence they hate Obamacare because it doesn’t go far enough and doesn’t feel single-payer-ey enough?

      1. There isn’t a single shred of evidence that is the case. There is no widespread demand for single payer. If there was, the Dems would have gotten the public option in 2010.

        1. I don’t have the links anymore, but there were some polls that showed that a sizable number of Americans didn’t like Obamacare because it lacked the Public Option.

          This was, admittedly, right after Ocare passed and we didn’t yet know what was in it. I admit they may not like it for new and different reasons, but John, seriously, don’t get sucked into the notion that everyone’s goin’ all libertarian. That will only end in disappointment.

          1. I am saying everyone is Libertarian. I am saying that everyone hates Obamacare and no one is going to be angry at the GOP for tying to kill it.

            1. I am saying everyone is Libertarian. I am saying that everyone hates Obamacare

              You’re lucky I know what you meant.

              I still suspect most Americans don’t want it killed, they want it fixed.

              1. I suspect most people want it killed. The vast majority of America has insurance and are happy with it. They are just now coming to realize Obamacare is going to end that. They are not going to be happy.

    4. John, for shitting down the government, you are priceless!

      1. That was a real Freudian slip.

        1. so if John, SF, and Warty had a kid his comments would contain no properly spelled words and links to heavy metal slashfic that don’t work. Outstanding! Get too it boys.

          1. Diabeetus and squats and fat chicks need to be in there somewhere.

    5. Why does Sudderman take this as an article of faith?

      Because, like so many other writers around here, he’s really a closet liberal.

      We could blame people for this, but it would make no sense. Where in today’s world do you think you’re going get a bunch of hard core, true limited government type reporters to staff an outfit like Reason? The staffing problem has to be like the proverbial needle in the haystack.

      So we get what we get.

  8. Personally, I like the strategy of a CR that defunds OCare in its entirety. Make the Dems save OCare in the light of day. You can always check the polls while this is being “negotiated.” If the DemOp media smear campaign looks to be working, you can recalibrate then. But don’t give up without even trying.

    1. Exactly. Make the Dems go to the mattresses to save Obamacare. Make it very clear to the country that you are willing to fund the government right now as long as they defund Obamacare. Hell, throw in some of the really desirable liberal ponies into the CR. Make the Dems vote against their own supporters getting goodies to save Obamacare.

      You know what I would do, I would put card check in the CR. Fuck them. Let the Dems explain to the Unions that Obamacare is more important than card check. And honestly, I would trade killing Obamacare until 2016 for card check. It would be a tough trade but still a good one. And they would never take the deal anyway. And it would sure be fun watching them turn it down.

      The GOP is just stupid. And people like Suderman who think that they shouldn’t try to defund Obamacare losers who don’t want to win.

      1. Say the GOP forces a shutdown. Then what? Little old ladies don’t get their monthly checks. Soldiers don’t get paid. Roads crumble and bridges fall. The world as we know it comes to an end. At least that’s what most people seem to believe.

        1. But a shutdown doesn’t mean that. All that shit continues to happen. A shutdown just means people like me don’t go to work and a bunch of shit that doesn’t affect many people stops happening. It would be sequester all over again. No one would notice. They would after a few months, but not at first.

          Beyond that, even if you cave, that is fine too. It makes the Democrats say to the entire country that they will let the government shut down to save Obamacare. It hangs it on their necks again. Further, if you throw in a few goodies for Dem interest groups in the CR that defunds Obmaacare, you force the Dems to explain to their own supporters why saving Obamacare is more important than giving them their pony. That will go over well.

          It is not hard. The GOP is just gutless and stupid.

          1. But a shutdown doesn’t mean that. All that shit continues to happen.

            We know this. But does the average low information voter?

            1. It doesn’t matter. The average low information voter will continue to get their check. So they won’t notice.

          2. I remember the shutdown in 1995 or 6 and how it affected me. It was rough. My girlfriend’s father was a Army National Guard recruiter and he couldn’t use his government car, so he had to use hers and I had to find a different ride to school.

    2. But doesn’t that mean the House should pass two identical bills, one with the funding and one without. Otherwise, how is it clear that the Dems “saved” OCare?

      1. Sure. You pass a CR that defunds Obamacare. Then you let the government shut down and after a day or two say “hey we tried but the Democrats insist that Obamacare is the most important thing in the world”. So here, have a CR that funds Obamacare but also takes away all those goodies we were willing to give to liberal interest groups.

        1. but also takes away all those goodies we were willing to give to liberal interest groups

          Doesn’t that just muddle the debate? Look, if you want to pin OCare on them and shed the (admittedly unfair) obstructionist label, then make it clean.

          1. It doesn’t at all. You do it to make yourself look reasonable. It is not that we are obstructionists who just want our way. We understand you have to give and take. So here is card check or Amnesty or whatever. That is our give. Now in return you have to delay and defund Obamacare.

            1. That’s ridiculous and is going to confuse voters even more. The Republicans wanted those things?

              And let’s say Obamacare is defunded. That doesn’t stop all the things in it that don’t require funding, which is most of it, i.e. the mandates & penaltax.

  9. I’ll go them one better. Take all of the money saved by not hiring however many people the CBO estimated the IRS, HHS and every other federal agency needed when it passed. Give the states a direct 20% stipend to be spent only on Medicare/Medicaid.

    1. That should be the “Replace”. All of Obamacare is replaced with this. Then lets have the fight over why even this is too much.

  10. if the democrats want to fund obamacare they should have to win the House where spending bills originate.

    1. Top Drawer posting handle! Absolutely TOP DRAWER!

  11. Peter, you’re sexy as hell, so I always feel kinda bad when we disagree, but just try this word concept: Obamacare, mend it, don’t end it. You hear how silly that sounds, right? If the Democrats are forced through Republican obstruction to reach for that slogan, how can that not be a win for the GOP?

    1. Doesn’t sound silly at all. I can think of lots of ways to mend it, such as making the requirements for qualifying ins. plans less stringent by not mandating coverage for routine stuff.

  12. This must be the eighth or ninth article I’ve seen in Reason so far crying, whining and moaning about how the Republicans’ strategy to defund Obamacare cannot possibly work.

    NOWHERE has Reason given us any ideas for getting rid of this monstrosity. It’s all “oh, this wont’ work, that won’t work, blah blah waaa waaa.”

    Reason, I’m getting tired of this bullshit. If you have a better idea, let’s hear it. If you don’t, then please just shut the fuck up.

    1. They must have forgotten about the “you’re not allowed to level any criticism whatsoever of any kind at all unless you have a better idea” rule.

      1. No such rule. But eight or nine articles?

        Gimme a frickin’ break. Just shut up, already. (Not you, I’m talking to Reason).

      2. It implies that the better idea is whatever came before, which was an even more monstrous system that is in fact totally indefensible.

        To be taken seriously in this debate over healthcare policy you have to do more than side the Republican political strategy–which has nothing to do with healthcare and only to do with defeating Democrats in elections.

  13. You know, I heard a guy named Dennis Prager being interviewed on a podcast the other day. I knew not who this Dennis Prager was, and he’s been criticized on these here very Reason pages before.

    But he said something very profound, that I can’t disagree with.

    He said that Americans are choosing the road of the French Revolution over the American one. The American revolution was about Liberty, and the French Revolution was about equality.

    I say he’s right.

    1. Oh, sure. We’ve left the Enlightenment behind and are in the warm, soft, bloody embrace of Romanticism.

    2. That is profound.

        1. As are most things that are profound.

    3. And disturbing.

    4. The problem with the French revolution is that they never figured out that liberty, equality and fraternity cannot all exist at the same time among the same people.

  14. I have an idea about the Senate. Rather than worry about repealing the 17th, what if the Senate remained popularly elected but limited the people who could vote for senators to those who actually pay federal income tax? Net payers, I mean, since most everyone pays into FICA, etc. It might mean changing things a bit, as I wonder whether it would need to match up with where appropriations start, but I haven’t really thought this through.

    This occurred to me when listening to a lecture on how the English system evolved. Parliament was about getting money for a very long time, with kings trying to avoid calling it up unless really desperate for money. Later on, the real money started being controlled by the middle class, which shifted the power from Lords to Commons.

    1. If you do it like a Korporashun, then the people who pay more taxes (own more stock) get more votes.

      1. That’s probably a hard sell. I think just limiting the eligible voters to net taxpayers would solve some of the problems we have now. Or maybe not–I’m sure this system could be perverted, too.

    2. You love to come up with all these schemes to salvage the system. This might have worked, and the office of the Censor might have worked, if it had been put in at the beginning. Now, no interested party really has any desire to salvage anything. We’re long past the point of no return, dude.

      1. The way we’re going, we all lose. Even if trying to slow the shit down fails, it gives us time to maybe prevent a fall into totalitarianism. That’s where we’re going right now. And an economic collapse will not result in libertarian peace and joy. I think we all know that.

        1. Well. Maybe not libertarian joy.

          1. Sadly, our schadenfreude will be followed by other, less pleasant German words.

            I don’t pretend to think a few tweaks will fix things. What we need more than anything is a majority of the populace to fucking hate and mistrust the government. How we get from here to there is beyond me, but the one hope we have is that it’s happened here before. Different people, different time, but that goes for the future, too.

            1. What we need is Ran Al’Thor to go get the Sword Of Callendon from the Stone of Tear…or something.

              1. Epi! Go find that fucking bowl!

              2. What we need is an insanely advanced, libertarian alien species to arrive and lead us to salvation.

                1. Shit, I’d settle for benign neglect. No, I’d settle for malignant neglect.

                  1. You know how this is going to play out? Benevolent, libertarian superaliens really will come to Earth. They’ll be post-scarcity, the whole nine yards, but it will turn out that the galaxy is peacefully divided between them and an oppressive, statist collective. Earth will choose to become part of the latter.

                    1. Well, fuck yeah we will. You get drug glands in the Culture, dude.

                    2. That’s why I’m planning my escape.

                2. Lead you to salvation hell. We’re going to conquer your asses and impose the libertarian order.

                3. Been done in fiction & film. The Probability Broach, The Monitors. The hilarious thing is that in the latter film, it seems like the opposite up until the last minute.

            2. What we need more than anything is a majority of the populace to fucking hate and mistrust the government.

              I’m afraid that if you get that, their rxn is going to be, “OMG, I’d better hurry & get mine before it’s too late!”

    3. IMO, all that would result in is further inflammation of class resentment, with very little actual results. Most people of all income levels are fine with most things the federal government does, and I doubt you could find a majority to agree on any one thing of substance to actually cut, even excluding people who don’t pay income tax.

  15. There is an old saying “the enemy has problems the existence of which you can never know”. The question that should be asked is about the dismal strategies Democrats have to defend Obamacare. The best thing that could ever happen to the Democrats in Congress if for the GOP to somehow kill or delay the thing past the 2014 mid terms.

    This thing is an epic fail. It is going to screw the middle class. Most people in this country have medical insurance and are happy with it. When their rates go up, they are going to be pissed. And don’t tell me the pre-existing condition pony is going to make up for that. Everyone loves to talk about how sick people should get insurance too. That is right up until the moment they personally have to pay for it. When insurance rates explode, and they will explode, people won’t give a shit about pre-existing conditions.

    1. The beauty of every other Dem program has been that they all managed to give out free shit while hiding the costs in the form of either fungible taxes or debt. Everyone got to feel good about supporting these wonderful caring policies but never really personally saw any of the costs. Never before has there been a program where the costs are so personal, so large and so directly attributable to the program. That is a fucking disaster from a political perspective. You think people hate this law now, wait until it goes into effect and they start losing their insurance by the millions and those that don’t see their rates go through the roof.

      All the Republicans have to do is fight this fight. They don’t have to win. They just have to make every Democrat in Congress go on record as voting to ensure that this act will go into full effect. The rest will take care of itself.

      1. Even better wait until the inevitable racheting up of the penaltax and crackdown on enforcement of it.

        The cries of hipster douchebags having to shell out 80% of their disposable income to pay for Health Insurance they don’t need will be such sweet music.

  16. I say make it the priority to get more anti-Ocare folks elected next year. There is plenty of opportunity to crow about the shittiness of the program. Just keep hammering it.

    1. True. But to do that, you need to get as many Democrats on record voting to keep Obamacare as possible. Without that, the Dems will just lie and say they want it gone too.

  17. This just all around sucks. There’s no way the bill will be repealed. Once they start building the bureaucracy it becomes a perpetual motion machine. It cannot be stopped. But it won’t turn out as planned. People will elect to eat the fine rather than get insurance. People will not flock to the exchanges in droves. They’ll wait until they get injured or sick. Costs will skyrocket. Evil profiteering insurance corporations will be blamed, even as they fail to turn a profit. The only solution will be to do away with private insurance altogether and replace it with single payer. Progressives will all have a collective orgasm. But that still won’t be enough. Costs will be too high. So they’ll lower what they pay. This will mean competent medical professionals will get out of the government system and serve those who can afford to pay out of pocket, while the flunkies get paid by the government to serve the general public. Being a doctor will become just another job. No incentive for intelligent people to go into the field. Innovation will stop. Research will stop. Within a generation we’ll envy what they have in England.

    1. WELL…Who is up for some Ice Cream?

    2. Things have a way of self correcting. People are stupid but not so stupid that being hit over the head with a hammer doesn’t teach them a lesson.

      You guys think it is going to play out the way every other liberal program has. And maybe it will. But I would submit to you that it won’t. And the reason why it won’t is that no one ever had to personally pay for the other liberal programs in a way that they have to pay for Obamacare. I would also say that those other programs sought to solve a problem that many middle class people actually were concerned about and effected by. Medicare and social security are so popular not just because old people like getting checks. They are popular also because their kids like not having to take care of their parents.

      Obamacare is going to cause millions of middle class voters who were happy with their insurance to either lose their insurance or pay much higher rates. When that happens, they are not going to scream for single payer. They are going to want the thing repealed and to get their old insurance back.

      1. Things have a way of self correcting.


        Oh dude.

        1. Do you just not read history? Or is it that you don’t understand what you read?

          People do figure shit out and stop doing stupid shit eventually. That is why we don’t need top men to manage their lives. Trends don’t continue to infinity.

          1. That may be true. But, reading history, you never get the sense that those other peoples in the past were as fucking stupid as Americans are today. If Americans ever figure it out, it’ll be right after the gas pellets drop into the shower.

            1. I don’t think it is that Americans are uniquely stupid. It is that the founders wisely set up a system where radical change is really hard to obtain. The problem is progs are relentless fanatics who have managed over a period of 70 years to slowly transform the system over the objection of most of the population. Well now that it is here, the nature of the system makes it well neigh impossible to turn back even if a majority of the country wants it too.

              Progs are single minded fanatics. That makes them extremely formidable enemies. It is going to take people really feeling a lot of pain before we get a backlash. But we will get one.

          2. Over the time period that matters to me your “self correction” appears to be absent. Since I’ve been here the ratchet only appears to turn in a direction towards increased state power.

    3. You missed them, in the name of fairness, outlawing private medical care and then medical tourism which leads to general restrictions on travel and an outright fascist dictatorship.

    4. I can see a lot of what you say happening. But what makes you think that we will end up with worse than the UK (which is probably about the worst among wealthy countries)? Most countries with universal medical care do allow private hospitals and private insurance. And there are much better models than UK style single payer. Do that many people really look to the UK rather than France or Switzerland or Germany as a model for implementing universal medical coverage?

  18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSjGouBmo0M#t=18

    A lot of lefty friends have posted this on their FB pages concerning why health costs are so high in America. I would like to hear your thoughts.

    1. This kind of rapid-cut style of video is far too annoying to watch. Plus, that fuckign guy has a caraciture of himself on the wall.

  19. I have a plan:

    1. Let high-deductible plans qualify to avoid the penalty.

    2. Make these plans ineligible for subsidies.

    3. Add a tax deduction for individuals purchasings any kind of health insurance.

    The above three things would incentivize healthier people to purchase high-deductible plans instead of the subsidized plans under the ACA. Healthier people would then drop out of the insurance market for the ACA’s bronze, silver and gold plans, causing a death spiral in those markets. The deduction would also incentivize a shift away from the employer-based system.

    We might need to put in a bridge law that requires insurers to continue to insure people with existing conditions, so they can shift to the individual market without losing coverage.

  20. You’re all fucking insane. You do realize that? No, you don’t, because you’re fucking insane.

    Take the black man’s name off the damn law and address the policy questions and maybe you’ll be able to think more clearly.

    Premise: universal healthcare is an aspect of a modern society and tends to reduce costs. So fix the ACA. What does “replace” of “repeal and replace” consist of? I’m all ears. Go.

    1. Your ‘premise’ is baseless and has no logic whatsoever. Take your race-baiting hate mongering back to your ghetto hovel.

    2. You are fucking insane. You think that there is an infinite amount of money to spend on free shit for everyone.

      You’ve heard PLENTY of policy discussion about this issue on these boards. We all know that the employer-based system is the root cause of the distortions in the market. We all know that that is caused by tax incentives. We all know that the way to fix the health care market is to get rid of employer-based insurance and get people back into buying TRUE insurance – catastophic coverage and high-deductible policies, for starters.

      The current law does the exact opposite and it will be a financial disaster for the federal governments AND the pocketbooks of average citizens. Wake up when you are paying $300/month for you bronze plan after subsidies moron.

  21. The problem with ALL third party payer systems is that there is absolutely no restraint at all on the principals. Ergo, the system is bound to fail.

    1. Healthcare is a need and people pay whatever they have to. It doesn’t fit into your simplistic rational supply and demand model. And it’s not the only thing. The problem is with your need for things to be simple. Stop being that way. See the link below.

      1. So is food, water, and shelter. How stupid ARE YOU?

        1. All subsidized in civilized countries.

          1. “Well, we fucked everything else up, so why not let us fuck this up too?”

            Compelling argument

  22. The best way to castrate ObamaCare is very simple. Create a new Individual Medical Account.
    1. All contribution and payouts are tax free.
    2. All contribution and payouts to other peoples’ IMAs are tax free.
    3. Funds can be used to pay for any kind of Health Insurance.
    4. Any fees. levies, or taxes under ObamaCare are credited 100% to your IMA.
    5. All health care providers of goods or services must post their complete fee schedule/price list online and in a conspicuous place in their office.
    6. The IMA, by definition, meets all requirements under ObamaCare.

    See, no need to defund or repeal ObamaCare, just circumvent it.

  23. Why are American healthcare costs so high?

    Watch that and then shut the fuck up until you have something useful to say.

    1. Shut yourself the fuck up, retard. Health care costs are high because consumers are shielded from costs and have no incentive to know or care what anything costs or to do the slightest amount of negotiation of cost comparison about anything. That comes from not even being held responsible for paying their own insurance premiums.

      What we need are effective price signals, and to get that you need consumers to have a reason to care what they are spending.

      This law goes in the exact opposite direction. People like you., Complete utter retards that is, Think that nobody should have think for a second about what their healthcare costs – because it’s a RIGHT! It should just be provided to you, free of charge!

      And that is why healthcare costs are spiraling, because there are so many utter morons like yourself you have no concept of incentives, who just want to shower people with infinite benefits, who think people have a right to an infinite amount of a finite resource.

      Health care costs are so high BECAUSE OF YOU, TONY. BECAUSE OF YOU.

      1. You’re just wrong. You can’t react to price signals when your health and life are at stake. That’s an important reason healthcare is not like and will never be like a traditional market, and why the only thing that has kept costs down and kept quality up is large-scale bargaining, as explained in the video.

        Again, you think because you have an internet connection that you are an economist, but healthcare economics doesn’t fit libertarianism’s obsessive need for simplicity. Much like the rest of the world.

        1. Not every healthcare situation is an immediate life or death emergency. That’s what you have insurance for. For EMERGENCIES. Not for the times when you need to get a sonogram and you can spend a couple of weeks shopping around.

          That’s why high-deductible plans make the most sense, and why they are credited by the Kaiser Family Foundation with helping reduce cost inflation in health care. You get people to shop around for non-emergency care, and you save insurance for the true emergencies.

        2. “the only thing that has kept costs down and kept quality up is large-scale bargaining, as explained in the video.”

          Large-scale bargaining has to do with the prices, not the costs. It costs the same amount to perform the same procedure by the same doctor under the same regulatory scheme with the same available capital, regardless of what the price is negotiated to be, or who is on the hook for paying it.

          All the insurance companies have done is spread the cost around, so that one person doesn’t have to pay the full cost of a procedure. This makes sense for expensive procedures that are rarely performed, but doesn’t make any sense for inexpensive procedures that are frequently performed.

  24. The government would shut down. And then, polls strongly suggest, Republicans would be blamed…. What a shutdown almost certainly would do is put a lot of public pressure on Republicans to give up and let Democrats take a win?as happened in the 1990s.

    And also in the 1980s when the Republican was the president trying to leverage a Democratic Congress. And in both cases, I blame the news media for selling the public on blaming the Republican(s).

  25. The government shuts down 52 weekends a year plus at least 11-12 other holidays. That would be 115 days a year the Government is shut down. So what if it shuts down for a few more days.What difference would it make now”

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