As conservatives have long taught us, the only way to move toward universal coverage via private insurers is to require that everyone has coverage (and to subsidize lower-income folks who need help buying it). Otherwise, healthy folks opt out, and the insurance pool is destabilized. What’s more, if the GOP really cares about “relief,” there’s already relief written into health reform that exempts people from the mandate to carry coverage if they have to spend more than 8 percent of their income to do it.
A responsible, problem-solving opposition party seeking relief might say “we think that percentage of income exemption should be lower.” Or: “We’d be better off starting with catastrophic coverage for every American to limit federal costs.” But Republicans are not acting like a responsible, problem-solving opposition party. The party’s current national leadership has never offered a plan to cover more than 3 million of today’s 50 million uninsured.
A senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the host of the new podcast “This...Is Interesting,” Miller writes a weekly column for The Post.
Why not? Because, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan told me not long before he died, “those folks don’t vote Republican.”
As I’ve long argued, I’d be happy to repeal Obamacare on one condition:The GOP offers a plan that the Congressional Budget Office certifies will cover today’s 50 million uninsured. Basic catastrophic coverage with special funding for preventive care and wellness would be fine by me for starters. If Messrs. Boehner and Cantor would offer up such a plan and fund it honestly, I’d take that deal tomorrow.
It ain’t happening — and honest observers of all stripes should ask why.
The answer — the heart of darkness on health care, so to speak — goes back to Bill Kristol’s argument in 1993-94. If Democrats are allowed to show that government can help assure basic health security, Kristol preached, it will boost the party’s political fortunes for decades. Republicans have felt bound ever since to kill the thing in its cradle before Americans come to appreciate how vital such protections are in an insecure era.
Immigration is not the only issue on which Republicans find themselves on the wrong side of history and common sense nowadays.
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