Friday, October 14, 2011

Obamacare/ACA and a Replace Fantasy

There's been some chatter about the procedural hurdles the Republicans would have for repealing ACA, and I'm hoping to get to that later today (hint: it might involve Superbill!). But first...

If you'll recall, I've been pushing the idea that Republicans don't really care very much about ACA, even though they hate Obamacare. So my question is this: suppose that President Mitt Romney (or even Rick Perry) puts together a Heritage-endorsed package that entirely repeals Obamacare, and replaces (the president would say) the government takeover of health care, the death panels, and the rest of it with state-based Free Enterprise Marketplaces where private health insurance companies would use good 'ole American competition; Ronald Reagan Means Tested Vouchers to allow everyone to get insurance, and tax credits for everyone who signed up for any sort of health insurance.

In other words, for those of you not actually versed in the policy: what if Romney replaced Obamacare with ACA?

Oh, there would be differences: they would keep, probably, regulation against the most egregious insurance company practices, but they'd relax some of it, and the subsidies would probably be worse; on the other hand, the participation tax credits (replacing the mandate but functioning the same way) could be set higher than the penalties in ACA. Oh, and the GOP version would in fact probably give up on most of the cost-cutting stuff in ACA, and therefore produce a huge negative swing in the federal budget. In other words, it would be a Republican version of ACA.

Would Republicans be willing to go along? Would Democrats? Would everyone be willing to pretend that the Romney plan was entirely and totally different than what the Democrats had passed?

Yeah, I'm mostly just having fun with it, but really -- how many Republican Members of Congress could be fooled into thinking that the new Romney plan was totally different?

8 comments:

  1. how many Republican Members of Congress could be fooled into thinking that the new Romney plan was totally different?

    Given the way the partisans in House/Senate fought it out over the barely-different versions of the Budget Control Act back in the summer, I have no doubt that it could fly. Hell, I could imagine a Romney-led replacement that made very, very few changes, was supported down the line by House GOP, and was actively opposed by a large number of dems!

    m

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  2. "fooled" is a strong term.

    "would vote for it, regardless of any actual differences" is a different matter.

    I don't think that, with the exception of your nutjobs, too many GOP Members were "fooled" by what the ACA basically did. They either opposed it on policy grounds, or opposed it because it was the other side's idea, and that's good enough reason to oppose it.

    For the Dems, there's absolutely no reason to play ball. They wrote the last policy. Since a GOP policy, even if it's pure theater, would not possibly move policy in a more liberal direction, there's no incentive at all to participate.

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  3. Just a guess: if the insurance and health care industries liked the (minor) changes, they'd inform friends in Congress that the new system would be better, and then the re-labeling would work.

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  4. Your post is describing the precise course of action Obama should take, if he wants to win reelection, for that is about the only course that could possibly pull that off.

    The Left rammed through ObamaCare, absent opposition support, and that's what's killing them right now. But that could be remedied immediately, if Obama called for it, and he'd regain both the issue and the initiative.

    Obama's not that smart, though. ObamaCare will be reworked significantly, and he and you and I know it... it's just a matter of who's in the WH signing off on it. He's decided that it won't be him, and the electorate will accept his choice, apparently.

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  5. "The Left" hated, and hates, Obamacare, as a giveaway to the insurance companies that 'reforms' health insurance without doing much about health care.

    If you want to see white-hot rage against the mandate, go to DemocraticUnderground.com, not RedState.com

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  6. Yeah; one of the problems with the rhetorical device of calling everyone from Olympia Snowe on the "Left" is that it blinds you to real and substantively significant things that are going on.

    Of course, liberals and lefties are guilty of that too wrt conservatives -- as can be seen from those who see no difference between Holy Joe & the Benator on the one hand and, say, Jim DeMint on the other -- or who see no difference between the craziest fringe and DeMint.

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  7. Well yeah, I get that the hard Left wanted a full takeover, but that doesn't change the fact that the Left stepped well away from the mainstream to do what it is they DID do... ObamaCare.

    The Left is a non-factor in all this, now. They COULD be a factor, as mentioned above, but they don't want to be, evidently.

    It'd be an absolute masterstroke for Obama to open that discussion back up. He's a lightweight and doesn't have it in him, but nothing would provide him more political boost than that single action.

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  8. Anonymous: "The Left rammed through ObamaCare, absent opposition support, and that's what's killing them right now. But that could be remedied immediately, if Obama called for it, and he'd regain both the issue and the initiative. "

    Since when is 'absent opposition support' a criterion, especially since the GOP's stated policy was 'don't support nothing'?

    Oh, since January, 2009. Sorry, forgot.

    And since when does passing the bill = 'rammed through'?

    Sorry, still forgetful. I forgot that we live in a post-1/09 world now.

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