- - Thursday, March 16, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION

If talk is cheap, political-speak is even cheaper, and campaign talk is the cheapest of all.

When Obamacare was being debated in 2009 and 2010, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously said Congress had to pass the healthcare bill (Obamacare) in order for us find out what was in it. Her statement was as arrogant as it was dismissive of conservatives’ valid concerns about the deeply flawed bill Congress was considering.

Hannah Arendt once noted that there is “hardly a better way to avoid discussion than by releasing an argument from the control of the present and by saying that only the future will reveal its merits.”

Indeed. The Democrats, lacking any real-life evidence that their healthcare schemes would work in practice, simply released the argument from the hold of the present and assured the American public that the fears about the bill were unfounded, and that the future would prove how right the Democrats were to ram the bill through Congress. In political-speak, that translates as, roughly, “Trust us. We’ve got this.”

The Democrats were wrong, of course, and time has proven, not the merits of Obamacare, but, instead, how right conservatives were to question the bill. Our fears about escalating costs, the expansion of the federal government, an erosion of quality, and other concerns have turned out to be absolutely correct.

The Democrats were not the only ones at the time making promises about Obamacare. Congressional Republicans, for their part, have been busy making campaign promises about their intentions to repeal the failing law since the day it was signed by President Obama.

Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 2010 because of the public backlash against the law, and because Republicans - on the campaign trail - were adamant about their intentions of repealing Obamacare.

For seven years, the message from Republican politicians has been the same. “We want to help. We really do. But our hands are tied.” Republicans have bemoaned the fact that they, up until January of 2011, were in the minority in the House, and thus, unable to repeal Obamacare. And then, once taking the majority in the House, the American public had to contend with congressional Republicans’ loud lament that they didn’t have control of the Senate. So, in the 2014 election, we delivered that to the GOP, too.

Then, of course, the problem with repealing Obamacare was that the President Obama was still in the White House and would veto any type of repeal bill.

The 2016 election, was, in a sense, the American voters’ loud declaration to the GOP: “Enough already. We’re giving you both chambers of Congress and the White House. Now live up to your promises to repeal Obamacare.”

Republicans have introduced a “repeal and replace” healthcare bill that is, well, quite simply, simultaneously a lackluster repeal effort and a cataclysmic replace option. In its current form, the GOP-led healthcare bill is a far cry from what conservatives have worked to achieve over the past seven years.

The underlying problems with the American Health Care Act are that it retains many of the worst aspects of Obamacare, while failing to repeal Obamacare “root and branch,” as the GOP elites promised us. Adding insult to injury is the fact that GOP “alternative” bill leaves in place the aspects of Obamacare that are currently driving premium costs higher.

The bill includes expensive and onerous mandates on the insurance industry that will drive up costs, a continuation of Medicaid expansion for the next three years, and creates a new entitlement program in the form of refundable tax credits (read: subsidies).

Higher costs. A continued expansion of a failed government healthcare program. And a new entitlement program. Surely we didn’t need a GOP majority in both chambers of Congress for this?

On Wednesday, thousands of tea party conservatives from across the country gathered on Capitol Hill for a day of holding members of Congress accountable and reminding them that we are still serious about repealing Obamacare.

One of our defining practices at Tea Party Patriots is that when members of Congress stand for our principles, we stand by those politicians. But, when members of Congress disappoint us and deviate from their promises to uphold our principles, we hold them accountable, remind them of their promises, and help guide their next steps. Wednesday was a large-scale effort to do the latter.

For conservatives, Obamacare repeal is about more than campaign slogans. It’s about putting into practice the ideas that we know work. Competition, market-driven prices, individual responsibility, federalism, and the power of consumer choice, among other aspects of the free market are powerful forces that have proven the test of time.

Without question, our limited-government principles still work. And our principles, as evidenced by recent elections, are still popular. The only question that remains is if GOP members of Congress still have the courage to act on our principles.

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