Federal lawmakers, especially Republicans, have been hit with contentious town hall meetings in recent days. Perhaps the top issue in these town hall meetings, which often degenerate into mindless disruptive shouting, has been ObamaCare “repeal and replace.” New Jersey representative Leonard Lance held one such meeting on February 22.
On the morning of the day of Lance’s meeting, the New Jersey Star-Ledger “reported” on the upcoming event. I didn’t have to read very far into the article before I found a statement that got my back up. In Obamacare anger has hit Republicans in town halls across U.S. Tonight, it comes to N.J., Jonathan D. Salant, “reporting” for NJ.com, opened his “news” article with:
In a mirror image of protests that erupted after President Barack Obama proposed expanding health insurance eight years ago, House Republicans holding town hall meetings have faced angry constituents upset over GOP plans to take away their coverage.
The emphasis is mine, for the purpose these comments, edited for clarity:
This is inaccurate on both counts. No GOP proposal that I have seen would empower the government to take away anybody’s coverage. In fact, it was ObamaCare that, under the guise of “expanding health insurance,” literally took people’s coverage away, as millions of existing health insurance policies were outlawed by ObamaCare’s rules and mandates. GOP proposals, like one introduced by Senator Rand Paul, incorporate several features that would in fact expand, not take away, the range of policy choices and price ranges insurers could legally offer and consumers could legally choose from. The entire first paragraph is a double-lie. (Under GOP proposals, private insurers can, of course, stop offering policies for which there is weak consumer demand. But that is a market decision, and there is a fundamental moral difference between voluntary market decisions and coercive government mandates.)
The fact is, the ObamaCare recipients are the real takers, by way of the subsidies they receive that are paid for by taking money from other people’s pockets through inflated insurance premiums or taxes. Where were these protesters when ObamaCare actually was taking away people’s coverage? The ObamaCare subsidies should be phased away, in conjunction with the adoption of free market reforms that increase competition and reduce mandates on insurers and doctors. A real free market reform agenda is a pro-rights formula that basic economics and practical experience tells us will lead to expanded choices, greater quality, and lower cost policies.
America should have a rewind of the past 7 years. ObamaCare didn’t address the causes of the problems is was allegedly intended to “fix.” Government policies were largely to blame for the problems of pre-existing conditions and high cost. But the Democrats rammed ObamaCare through without even considering Republican proposals to address those problems. ObamaCare did nothing to fix anything. It just expanded government control, making matters worse in the insurance market while creating a whole new class of parasites who are now fighting tooth and nail to keep their handouts. This is morally and economically wrong. Instead of ObamaCare, which took away even more individual freedom from an already government controlled healthcare marketplace, we should have had less government control and more individual and patient freedom. We should have had reforms that not only didn’t have middle class subsidies or expanded Medicaid but would have led to more affordable healthcare and health insurance in the first place.
I don’t necessarily blame all of the ObamaCare recipients who took the subsidies. Many are victims of ObamaCare itself, or of the decades of government intrusion into healthcare that had brought on this mess. I do blame the ones who oppose replacing ObamaCare with a moral, pro-liberty approach to healthcare. It’s not at all certain that Republicans will move in that direction. My hope is that the Republicans will begin the process of reversing the trend from self-reliance to dependence—from middle class to welfare class—and legalize real health insurance through pro-freedom reforms. Government intrusion won’t be eliminated in total or overnight. Far from it. But that should be the long term vision that guides “repeal and replace.”
We have heard from the Left ad nauseum that Republicans don’t “have a plan” to replace ObamaCare. But the real debate should not be, “Which plan should we have?” It should be, “Who plans—individuals and patients, or government officials and politicians?” The Republicans have been answering “individuals and patients” for years. Now is their chance.
It is said that “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.” But sorry, ladies. It’s time to step aside. There is a greater fury—a parasite whose government handouts are threatened. Republicans should ignore the protesters screaming to keep their ObamaCare subsidies. These protestors are the voice of failure and dependency. It’s time that they got some backbone, stuck to their principles, and legalized the free market reforms they’ve been promising since ObamaCare became law.
THE OBAMACARE ALTERNATIVE OBAMA DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT—Rituparna Basu