Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Principles for engaging the President in health care discussions

1. Scrap Obamacare. The Senate and House versions of Obamacare must be scrapped. The process must start anew. That's what the American people want. The WH already said no, so the answer is no negotiations.

2. No public option. If the Democrats insist that the government is should be a competitor to private health insurers, there is nothing left to talk about.

3. A smaller, more incremental approach. Remaking 1/6th of the economy is just a bad idea. A mistake that the Dems and Obama was trying to do "comprehensive" health care reform. Smaller changes are easier to make and mistakes would be easier to reform later on. It would also be much less disruptive.

4a. No accounting gimmicks. The Senate health care bill counted 10 years of taxes and fees and 6 years of benefits. It was designed this way to get a good CBO score to make the bill easier to sell. This type of gimmickry makes the public cynical and who can blame us. It also hides the true cost of legislation that will only blow up in our faces later on.

4b. No Passing the Buck. This section is really part 2 of the no accounting gimmicks principle, but the bill's cost can't be determined if it requires future Congresses to make other spending cuts or reforms, e.g., the Senate bill's reliance of future Congresses to approve medicare cuts that we all know won't happen anyway.

5. No Horsetrading. The bill must apply to all states equally. There should not be another Nebraska sell-out or Louisiana Purchase. If a Senator or House member can't vote on the legislation as it stands, his/her vote should not be purchased with special favors and taxpayer giveaways.

6. No New Taxes or Fees. No Republican can be a part of any discussion where raising taxes, or what the President calls "fees" are on the table.

7. Free Market Principles Are on the Table. Conservatives and the GOP know that the best way to lower health care costs in the long run is by letting the free market provide the health care. There should be more consumer choice and more competition among private insurers. Once the cost goes down, it will be more affordable to more people and as such, more people will have coverage.

8. Fix Medicare/Medicaid First. I wasn't sure to include this, but Medicare and Medicaid are going broke. Starting some new health care system w/o first fixing the current one makes no sense. 

Those are the principles that the GOP should hold fast to while engaging the president. If the Dems resist, which they will because they're only after a photo-op and making the GOP look like obstructionists, the GOP should say "thanks, but no thanks!"