The Republican’s initial offering for an Obamacare replacement has a lot of people very nervous, especially those who have to run for office again in 2018. Everyone acknowledges that the bill doesn’t come anywhere near close to accomplishing what Republicans have been promising for seven years — replacing the much-hated Obamacare with a cost-effective solution — but it’s time for the GOP to put up or shut up.
There are two schools of thought on a replacement bill. The Ryan-Price coalition’s thinking is, “First, let’s keep our promise to voters by repealing Obamacare immediately, which will give us time to work on improving it through a second, third, fourth, and fifth step. Their viewpoint is purely political in nature, which is understandable, because there’s a lot at stake politically. The problem is that many aspects of Ryancare are as bad or worse than Obamacare, which could be a fatal blow to Republicans in 2018.
The problem with counting on steps two, three, four, and five to clean up the bill down the road is that the Dirty Dems will use every trick in the book to see to it that the GOP will never be able to get any of those measures through Congress. Which means Republicans run the risk that their timid step-one offering will end up in an Obamacare-like death spiral before they have a chance to improve on it.
If you’ve read my first book, Winning Through Intimidation, you may recall that I explained that when it comes to working on selling a real estate project that involves a second development phase, a broker should make it a point to get paid for both phases on closing of the first phase, even if he has to take a drastically reduced commission on phase two. The reason for this is that second phases have a way of never happening. (See Chapter 15 of the newest edition of Winning Through Intimidation.)
What’s at the heart of the healthcare fiasco is expectations. A consistent rule I’ve observed over the years is that once you give someone something, the person on the receiving end tends to see it as an entitlement. This is why most government programs not only become permanent, but grow by leaps and bounds.
This was the psychological strategy the Dirty Dems were counting on when they locked the prim-and-proper Republicans out of all Obamacare meetings and forced the bill through the legislative process by nefarious means — before anyone was even allowed to read it! Once it became law, of course, it was easy for anyone with an IQ over 30 to see that it was nothing more than a massive redistribution-of-wealth scheme, which is why the Dirty Dems didn’t want anyone to read it in advance.
It was the same strategy that was used to legalize abortion in 1973. Roe v. Wade was a 5-4 decision by unelected officials, and now it’s looked upon as a court-given right. (As you know, God doesn’t have a say in these matters.) Today, abortion lovers are willing to fight to the death (interesting pun) for their “right” to terminate the lives of millions of unborn babies.
It’s also reminiscent of Ted Kennedy’s lying assurances that his Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 “will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.”
The modus operandi of the Radical Left is to get your foot in the door by lying, then be patient, slowly raise the stakes, and end up with what you were really after from the very start. And it almost always works for them.
Which brings me full circle to Ryancare. There are times in my life when I desperately want to be wrong, and this is one of those times. I’m rooting for an abrupt end to Obamacare and not so much a “new plan” but a genuine free-market approach to healthcare. I dare not get my hopes up, however, because politicians will always make certain they’re involved. The goal, then, should be to aim for a healthcare system that minimizes the harm politicians can do to its citizens.
I could go on and on, because there is no end to the complexities of this monstrous problem, but I would like to own up to at least two areas that, as a civil libertarian, cause me moral concerns. First is the insane prices of prescription drugs. In theory, I believe that pharmaceutical companies should be allowed to charge whatever the market will bear for their products. But from a humanitarian standpoint, it is beyond the pale to me that, generally speaking, drug prices in the United States are astronomically higher than those charged in other countries.
As just one example, a medication someone in my family has taken for years costs more than $200 in the United States, but only $10 in Israel — and just a bit more than that in New Zealand. It seems to me that some kind of reasonable agreement could be reached to get drug companies to bring their U.S. prices down dramatically. I sometimes wonder if GlaxoSmithKline doesn’t have a bigger GDP than the United States. Notwithstanding their enormous development and government regulatory costs, pharmaceutical profits are humongous.
Unfortunately, I don’t know what the answer to affordable drugs is, but I do feel that it’s inhumane to allow people to suffer — and in many cases, die — because they cannot afford the drugs they need. A lot of work and negotiating time needs to be put into this all-important issue.
The second problem that causes a civil libertarian like me to have a tug of war with my compassionate side is tort reform. From a freedom standpoint, I believe that a person is entitled to any amount a court is willing to reward him. But most plaintiff awards are way out of line with reality, and they only encourage ambulance-chasing attorneys whose popularity rivals that of politicians and the media.
I therefore begrudgingly come down on the side of capping the amount of money that can be awarded for various kinds of medical damages. In addition, and perhaps even more important, I have always favored a loser-pays system, but with one new wrinkle: The losing attorney — not his client — should be the one who has to pay the winner’s legal fees. Since the whole system is driven by money-hungry attorneys, this would make them think long and hard before filing frivolous lawsuits. Best of all, it would have a major impact on lowering healthcare costs.
That said, when it comes to affordable healthcare, I again emphasize that we should always strive to move closer to a free-market healthcare system, Uncle Bernie be damned.
I’m glad I’m not Donald Trump when it comes to the healthcare leviathan, because it can never be solved in a way that comes anywhere near close to pleasing everyone. And given that it’s the first big piece of legislation out of the Trump starting gate, the consequences of a bad move could bring the horrid, anti-American Radical Left back to power — and the consequences of that would be far worse than the most abominable healthcare plan Republicans could ever come up with.