In response to Ted Cruz’s promised filibuster, critics are shouting “what’s your endgame?” I have a different question, directed in particular to GOP governors and gubernatorial candidates: What’s your midgame?
Here is the key fact: We can’t repeal Obamacare until 1) the GOP wins the White House and both houses of Congress (the Senate by a filibuster-proof majority) or 2) the GOP wins the 2014 election convincingly enough that Senate Democrats fracture over Obamacare, producing a filibuster-proof majority against it, allowing passage and the override of a presidential veto or 3) #1 without the Senate supermajority, but, as in #2, Senate Democrats fracture and the act is repealed with support from both parties. Of these, #3 is most likely, but we’ll have to wait four years or more to get there.
In the meantime, on the federal level, I am all for a GOP midgame of delay on one hand (push implementation back a year, then next year push it back another year and so on) or strict enforcement on the other (OK, Majority Leader Reid, you want Obamacare and you want it now, then no exemptions … not for particular companies, or particular unions, or cronies of any kind… equal treatment for all, as the law provides). But let’s understand that the chances of winning with either ploy are slim.
On the state level, it is a different story. My midgame would be for governors (particularly governors with GOP legislatures) to offer a simple but game-changing proposal.
Here is the premise: the heart of the healthcare issue is the price of insurance. A key contributor to the high cost of insurance is the nation’s balkanized insurance market. Each state is its own separate market promulgating its own rules, including its own very expensive mandates for coverage (such as Massachusetts’ mandatory in vitro fertilization coverage for men and the elderly). There has been talk about a federal law creating a national insurance market. That won’t happen until Congress and the White House change hands. So why wait for Washington?
How about GOP governors (and GOP state legislators) championing this brief bill? It would read: “Any health insurance policy approved for sale under the laws of any other state of the United States shall be approved for sale in this state without modification.”
If all we hear about how much the expense of coverage differs from state to state (the spread between the high and low states said to be as much as $1,000/month), the people of even mid-price-range states embracing this reform will see the quotes for health insurance options plummet — an immediate proof point for a new, market-oriented replacement for Obamacare. Then, too, Washington may try to block the reform before it goes into effect — also a good proof point for the fight ahead.
I put this out to Team Ricochet as a concept. Most of us have followed the Obamcare debate closely and are conversant at a level of some detail. I can’t think of a better group to consult.
So what is your reaction to this midgame proposal? If thumbs up, explain. If thumbs down, what would be your alternative?