President Obama made it clear on September 9th that he welcomes Republican ideas and cooperation. And without it he plans to move ahead. So play ball or clear the field.
From a purely tactical perspective, President Obama and the Democrats have a limited window of opportunity to pass some form of health care plan. If they cannot get Republican cooperation now then why should they expect it in the future, especially with 2010 looming.
I do not support Obamacare or the overall healthcare plan as it has come across so far. But politics are like love and war: win now or keeping moving. If you delay you will just spend the rest of your life whining that you could have made a difference.
For Republicans, you have a chance for a major win. Stop whining and take President Obama up on his offer to sit down and to get serious.
Do not waste time! You had all of August and early September 2009 to make your case and you didn’t. No ideas. Nothing but serious bellyaching. If my guess is right, the Democrats are about to do what YOU would do to them … and did for 8 years.
What the Republican plan should be:
- Contact the White House and offer to take them up on their plan to meet and to discuss serious ideas. Ask that the meeting be broadcast on CSPAN as the president promised when he was Candidate Obama.
- Ask that Tort Reform be made a major clause of the reform package. Ask that tort losses be limited to $1M max/person, with a clause that legal fees cannot exceed 20% of that $1M. Since the injured/tort case winner would be covered by the new health care plan then there is no need to provide for medical care.
- Mandate open cross-state purchase of insurance policies by anyone and everyone. Employers would drop group plans and pay an insurance benefit instead. This levels the tax benefit subsidy that individual Americans do not receive unless in a group plan. Each American would buy a policy from an insurance provider of their choice.
- Mandate a cessation provision of federal funding if the national plan requires debt/deficit spending. This eliminates bate-and-switch: oops, we never knew it would cost this much! On the other hand Congress could and should raise taxes if the plan costs more. Bottomline: It must be a pay-as-you-go plan. Congress must be held accountable for the plan’s success or failure.
- Establish a sunset provision of 5 years. At the end of 5 years we will hold a national referendum to keep/ditch/reform whatever plan we pass now. If it works it works. If not then goodbye!
- Cover all currently uninsurable by requiring that insurance companies accept a fixed percent of uninsurable with rates not to exceed 25% of the “common” insured rate. For example, if you have 18% of market share then you WILL accept at least 18% of the high risk population. If insurance companies must compete in a truly free open market and must compete based upon smart policies then they will figure out how to make this work.
- Last, with the sole exception of the active duty U.S. military, all Americans will fall under this plan: government, retirees, medicare/medicaid, everyone!
No more excuses. Find a chair and demand a place at the table. Leave all the silliness behind. The above puts control over health care into the hands of the individual, it mandates both a level playing field and truly open market place, and it makes clear that we are in this together AND ‘We the People’ can pull the plug if this turns out to be a bad idea.