Politicians are a curious breed. Their age-old solution to the problems created by their bad laws is always the same: more laws. Until we break this vicious cycle, we are destined to continue down our current downgraded-America path. The time to break that cycle is now, by keeping the focus on Obamacare until the 2012 election.
Because no single law poses a greater threat to our republic than Obamacare, we must repeal it. But that’s just the beginning. Obamacare will be the law of the land until we elect a president and a Congress that will end it. The Supreme Court very well may strike down the law first, but even so, a law this destructive deserves a wooden stake through its heart that only a political death delivers.
Republicans should demand the repeal of all of Obamacare, not just parts of it. A good surgeon doesn’t hope to remove most of a cancer.
On Jan. 19, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed H.R. 2: Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, but that repeal effort was killed by the Democrats. Republicans should again introduce an Obamacare repeal in the House. And again and again. Remind Americans that Obamacare is killing jobs today and threatening our nation’s solvency tomorrow. Make the Democrats defend it every day until the election.
There’s more Congress can do immediately. Members of the supercommittee - the extraconstitutional select bipartisan deficit-reduction panel - can save about $2 billion in the current budget year by withdrawing early Obamacare implementation grants. Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for a law that, as currently adjudicated, is unconstitutional.
The Obamacare battle extends into each of the 50 states. First, the states should follow the “Don’t Mess With Texas” model and refuse to establish the health care exchanges, at least until the Supreme Court and the voters have had their say. Kansas even went so far as to return a $31 million Obamacare Early Innovator Grant, a particular embarrassment for Health and Human Services Secretary and fellow Kansan Kathleen Sebelius. Don’t mess with Kansas.
States should rescue their patients from Medicaid. This welfare program, as administered by Washington, has become an undeniable second-class health care system, and Obamacare expands it enormously. President Obama himself once claimed that simply shoving patients onto the Medicaid rolls is not a solution for America’s health care problems. Of course, that was before he unleashed a plan that forces 16 million more Americans to the back of the health care bus that we call Medicaid.
There are those of us who have dedicated our lives to serving patients and believe we are bound morally - although not constitutionally - to help those souls who truly cannot help themselves. We also believe that patients deserve better than Washington’s version of Medicaid. Survival rates for Medicaid patients are worse than those of private insurance patients. No surprise. Sadly - and take a moment to ponder this - survival rates for many ailments, including some of the most common cancers, are worse for Medicaid patients than for uninsured patients. Only Washington could create an insurance plan whose use is a worse fate than being uninsured. It’s called Medicaid.
States should demand “global waivers” from the Washington version of this mess. They could use the same funds to administer the program themselves. Unleash the power of the 50 laboratories of democracy. After all, who knows more about and cares more for the needy patients in each state?
Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a surgeon, explains: “As a physician, I focus on results. Unfortunately, many Kansans - especially the severely disabled - are trapped in Medicaid, so we are redesigning the entire program. We can do it better and be more accountable to the citizens of Kansas if we had a global waiver.”
States also have it within their power finally to kill the artificial and destructive health care insurance state boundary rules. With two identical families living across the street from each other, one could see insurance premiums tripled compared to the other’s premiums because of these rules. Stop protecting the insurance companies. Health care compacts between two states would force companies to face competition from across the state line. Better yet, a 50-state compact would unleash competition nationwide. The commerce clause of the Constitution could be enforced if states won’t do it themselves.
Congress and the states should encourage competitive, free-market individual health insurance that already exists and is unencumbered by the myriad dictates of Obamacare, particularly now that the president’s law is forcing companies to drop their group policies. States should eliminate well-meaning but harmful regulations that prevent carriers from providing affordable mandate-lite policies. And federal and state tax penalties that discriminate against individual policies should end.
Finally, and most important, the fate of our nation lies in the hands not of the governing class, but where it always has, in the hands of patriotic Americans. Get engaged. Be the American who deserves better leadership. Demand of any political candidate who wants your vote, from president to state legislator, that he or she will stand for patients. Demand the complete repeal of Obamacare.
Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.