By Irene Starkehaus -
Hindsight is 20-20, I guess. Who could have known that Obamacare would be such an outright disaster?
Oh, right. Actually, Republicans did. To be accurate, conservatives simulated omniscience over the Left's hungry and leering advances upon the American health care system with eerie precision. Conservatives intuitively and intellectually understood then and understand now that the Affordable Care Act is a death sentence for the American dream that will reduce freedom loving people to the servitude of an out-of-control government and veritable one-party political system.
Bobby Jindal has, as we know, unveiled a new healthcare proposal called the Freedom and Empowerment Plan. It is meant to be "a prescription for conservative consumer-focused health reform."
Jindal's recommended plan works to expose the myth that there is no conservative alternative to Obamacare and provides practical solutions to the very real problems found within the American health care system.
Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats proposed and passed the Affordable Care Act now known as Obamacare to theoretically reduce the costs associated with health insurance on average by $2,500 per family. They promised that you could keep your coverage and your doctor if you wanted to do so. They said that Obamacare would improve coverage for working men and women.
We now know that Democrat promises do not reflect the truth hidden within the Affordable Care Act. Quoting Bobby Jindal's recent discussions on Obamacare iniquities, the Obamacare actuality breaks down like this:
- $2,100 per family increase in premiums on the individual market (CBO, 11/30/2009)
- At least 4.7 million Americans losing their health plans (Associated Press, 12/26/2013)
- More than $2 trillion in new spending (CBO, 2/2014)
- Increasing taxes by over $1 trillion (CBO, 7/4/2012)
- 47 new IRS provisions to implement (GAO, 6/11)
- 2.3 million fewer workers in the American workforce (CBO, 2/4/14)
- Employers reducing hours and eliminating jobs (Investor's Business Daily, 2/3/14)
I would like to mention that by offering details about the Jindal proposal, this in no way signifies an outright endorsement of his plan. It is, however, important that we begin developing an opposition platform that advocates total repeal of the Affordable Care Act. If conservatives do not provide a blueprint for ending this health care nightmare, the GOP establishment will be unable to summon any moral courage or indignation to outright reject the largest war on liberty in our nation's history. They will fall in line as they always do and agree that it is too late to repeal this abomination of law.
The Freedom and Empowerment plan is a "repeal and replace" solution to the socio-economic disaster of Obamacare and advocates the following:
Principle One: Lowering costs – Per Jindal, the tax code contains two flaws with regard to health insurance. The first issue is that while workers can purchase insurance through their employers using pre-tax dollars, persons wishing to purchase individual plans must do so using after-tax dollars. This discourages people from going out on their own to purchase coverage. It reduces competition and increases costs. The second problem is that the tax code attaches greater value to insurance than to increases in wages and this encourages employers to scale back wage increases to fund health care costs. This ultimately culminates in a loss of diversity in plan options and in prices, and it encourages stagnation in economic growth.
In the Freedom and Empowerment plan, conservatives look to provide a standard deduction for insurance no matter where it is purchased and this gives individuals the freedom to shop for plans that best suit their own situations. Additionally, persons purchasing plans that cost less than the standard deduction would be able to pocket the difference and this encourages free market pressures toward reducing costs…as deregulation invariably does.
Those individuals living below poverty levels and those with preexisting conditions that may not benefit from a standard deduction would receive a subsidy instead.
Upon passage, this plan would build upon the proven success of Health Savings Accounts, would crack down on Medicare fraud and would encourage price transparency to the consumer.
Principle two: Protecting the vulnerable – The Freedom and Empowerment Plan would work to shield people with preexisting conditions, seniors, those with disabilities and the unborn by improving the vibrancy of the mildewing Medicare system.
The strategy calls for guaranteeing renewability by ensuring "that patients have the ability to renew their coverage, regardless of their health status, so long as they have not committed fraud. Thus, people who maintain continuous coverage should be protected from premium spikes and have confidence their insurance will be there when they need it."
There would be a cap on costs for catastrophic illnesses and a reform of Medigap in an effort to reduce administrative costs. But just as important as the proposal is the fact that the repeal of Obamacare would be a repeal of the HHS anti-conscience mandates regarding abortion:
"Among its many other flaws, Obamacare represents an intrusion on the moral values many Americans hold dear. Contrary to prior practice, the law has seen federal tax dollars flow to fund health insurance plans that cover abortions. The law also forces many Americans to choose between violating the law and violating their consciences, imposing mandates on non-profit and other institutions that violate their deeply-held religious beliefs. As a result, literally dozens of institutions nationwide have taken Obamacare's anti-conscience mandate to court…"
Principle three: Portability and choice – The Freedom and Empowerment Plan lays out steps for reforming the Certificate of Need (CON) requirements imposed by states. The CON mandates force organizations to obtain clearance from various individual states before building new health care facilities. Analysis shows that states without CON requirements have lower health costs than the states with CON mandates. Quoting from the proposed plan: such requirements "undercut consumer choice, stifle innovation and weaken the market's ability to contain costs."
There will also be an effort to allow the purchase of insurance across state lines and permit pooling mechanisms that would let private organizations provide multi-state insurance pools. Those organizations could include churches, fraternal organizations and trade and alumni groups.
Another important issue that The Freedom and Empowerment Plan would address is the problem of costs associated with litigation:
"Enacting lawsuit reforms—including a cap on non-economic damages, restrictions on attorney contingency fees, discouraging frivolous lawsuits, and other common-sense changes—would reduce health care costs. Because nearly half of all health spending is controlled by government, largely through the Medicaid and Medicare programs, Congress should take the lead in enacting lawsuit reforms in instances where the federal government is a payer of health services."
By offering this plan and others as opposition to Obamacare and by providing a roadmap to the outright repeal of Obamacare, we signal to our representatives that we demand action. We also offer hope to those millions of working men and women currently suffering under the intolerable weight of federal intrusion. Most importantly, we assert our constitutional right to dissent by proclaiming to Democrat leadership that the battle over health care is not over just because the Democrats say it is. We concede nothing. We reject inevitability.
More discussion on the nuances of Bobby Jindal's proposal can be seen in this Wall Street Journal interview between Jindal and Mary Kissel who is a WSJ editorial board member...Streaming on this is a bear so here's a link if the video isn't working for you: