Thursday, 05 July 2012

Sen. Mitch McConnell Promises to Repeal ObamaCare

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On Tuesday evening, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), was asked about repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as ObamaCare, if Republicans take back control of the Senate in November. Said McConnell:

Repeal of ObamaCare will be the first item up in the Senate if I am Majority Leader …

Our goal will be to get it off the books. In my view, it is the single worst piece of legislation that has been passed in modern times …

Just because the Supreme Court has decided it is constitutional doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do …

What I can tell you with certainty is that there is no higher priority with me, and the presidential candidate [Mitt Romney] has made it perfectly clear that he would sign any repeal legislation that we sent to him.

In the House McConnell has a lot of support for repeal. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling last Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that decision “underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety. Republicans stand ready to work with a president who will listen to the American people.” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced that the House will vote on repealing Obamacare on July 11, urged on by Boehner who said the massive law “has to be ripped out by its roots.”

Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also promised to repeal the act:

What the [Supreme Court] did not do on its last day in session I will do on my first day, if elected President of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare…

Obamacare was bad policy yesterday. It’s bad policy today. Obamacare was bad law yesterday. It’s bad law today.

Under the Constitution a President Romney can, of course, do no such thing on his own, as he has the power only to sign into law, or veto, bills presented to him by the Congress. But McConnell sees an opportunity to present just such a bill to the new president — through “reconciliation.” In his interview with National Review Online, McConnell said:

There has been a lot of talk about reconciliation. The Chief Justice said this is a tax, and we take him at his word, so that certainly makes this eligible for reconciliation…

We know for sure that taxes are among the things that are eligible for reconciliation…

When pressed for details, McConnell explained:

The chief justice said (the mandate) is a tax, and taxes are clearly what we call reconcilable. That’s the kind of measure that can be pursued with 51 votes in the Senate.

Reconciliation grew out of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 as an attempt to streamline the legislative process when the subject was limited to “reconciling” differences in expenditures or “changes” in spending. It has been greatly expanded over the years and was used to pass ObamaCare in 2010 after it failed to pass in 2009. It eliminates the rule that filibusters can be ended only by 60 votes and now limits debate to 20 hours before bringing a bill to the floor of the Senate for a majority rule vote.

Added McConnell:

Reconciliation is available because the Supreme Court has now declared it a tax. They have unearthed the massive deception that was practiced by the president and the Democrats to constantly deny that is was a tax…

       And as a tax, it is eligible for reconciliation.

McConnell is even getting support from Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who wrote, “Those of us in Congress who believe in individual liberty must work tirelessly to repeal this national health care law and reduce federal involvement in healthcare generally.”

And there’s the rub: what happens if 1) Romney is elected president, 2) Republicans take back the Senate, 3) the House remains in Republican hands and 4) reconciliation effectively ends ObamaCare? What happens next?

McConnell, Romney, Ryan, Boehner and company intend to replace it. McConnell has repeatedly said “repeal and replace” as has Romney. In speaking with National Review Online, McConnell was emphatic:

         Our goal, number one, is to repeal and replace Obamacare…

Job one is to replace Obamacare in its entirety, clean up the health care we’re already responsible for, and then we’ll see where we go from there…

I can certainly speak for the senators who are in the Republican conference today. Without exception, I am confident that they all want to repeal and start over.

Ron Paul is afraid that will result in a warmed-over version of ObamaCare which will be a long way from what really needs to be done. Explains Paul:

The fundamental problem with health care costs in America is that the doctor-patient relationship has been profoundly altered by third-party interference. Third parties, either government agencies themselves or nominally private insurance companies virtually forced upon us by government policies, have not only destroyed doctor-patient confidentiality. They also inescapably drive up costs because basic market disciplines — supply and demand, price sensitivity, and profit signals — are destroyed…

Conservatives seem resigned to a third party insurance system and therefore fail to present a viable alternative to the American people. They continue to speak in terms of saving the health care "system," when in fact what America needs is a rejection of all government systems in favor of free market mechanisms.

The free market would operate in human healthcare just as it does in veterinary care: Bills for services rendered are paid by the pet owner at the time a service is rendered, with no third-party involvement. If insurance is demanded by pet owners, private insurance companies will offer coverage for major medical bills. There’s no government agency involved, no third party looking over the shoulder of the vet who is providing the service. If surgery or drugs are required, the vet provides them without having to get approval elsewhere.

As Paul explains:

In a free market, most Americans would pay cash for basic services and maintain inexpensive high-deductible insurance for catastrophic injury or illnesses only...

Costs would plummet due to real competition among doctors, price sensitivity among patients, and elimination of enormous paperwork costs. Doctors would be happier, spending their time treating patients rather than managing their practices.

That’s the real danger of repealing ObamaCare by statist “conservatives” who are eager to replace it with something equally destructive, or more so. Unless the message can be delivered — no more remedies! let the free market work! — health care in the country will continue to decline in efficacy and increase in cost, along with the further limiting of personal freedom of choice. 

Photo: In this June 26, 2012 file photo, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) center, accompanied by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) left, and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) speaks to reporters outside the Senate, on Capitol Hill in Washington: AP Images




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