Faced with the ongoing implosion of Obamacare, Democrats are complaining that Republicans don’t have a plan of their own. That was the charge leveled by an apoplectic Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) last week, whose outburst in a congressional hearing was applauded by the left. But it’s just another lie. Republicans have had several plans–and the proof is that Barack Obama himself spent so much energy attacking one of them.
In the 2008 election, Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) proposed health care reform that would have helped individuals enter the private insurance market rather than leaving it. The key was a refundable tax credit to help households buy their own insurance, rather than an individual mandate that functions as a tax increase. Among conservatives, there was a loose consensus that McCain’s plan was a fairly decent idea.
Here’s Obama’s response, courtesy of the sympathetic Ben Smith:
So here’s John McCain’s radical plan in a nutshell: he taxes health care benefits for the first time in history; millions lose the health care they have; millions pay more for the health care they get; drug and insurance companies continue to profit; and middle class families watch the system they rely on begin to unravel before their eyes. Well, I don’t think that’s right. I don’t think we should settle for health care that works better for drug and insurance companies than it does for hard working Americans. I don’t think that’s the change we need. We can do better than that.
Read that again, and let it sink in. “[M]illions lose the health care they have; millions pay more for the health care they get…”. It’s almost word-for-word what could be said–accurately–about Obamacare today.
There’s more. Obama charged: “study after study has shown, that under the McCain plan, at least 20 million Americans will lose the insurance they rely on from their workplace.” The number under Obamacare? 93 million, according to his own administration in 2010. That’s five times worse–and McCain’s policy would have paid them to switch, rather than taxing them. Yet Obama thought McCain’s plan should scare voters.
In a sea of lies Barack Obama told about the so-called “Affordable Care Act,” those are hardly the worst. Yet they add up to an important truth: Republicans did have a health care plan, Obama did his best to tear it down, and the mainstream media let him do it because most journalists could not be bothered to inspect the details for themselves, any more than they inspected Obama’s own legislation to find out “what is in it.“
Conservatives, by nature, are less enthusiastic about “plans” because we dislike central planning. Not only don’t we like the idea of government running something big, but we also know that it tends to fail when it tries. The Soviets had lots of Five-Year Plans. So do the Chinese, many of them have been world-class disasters. The American left has not quite absorbed the lessons of those experiences, or even of our own.
It is no insult to be accused of not having a “plan” when your policy is to have fewer government plans and more patient choices. Yet even when Republicans do propose a plan, Democrats and the media destroy it with snark and lies. I’m sympathetic to the view that the GOP should offer fixes to Obamacare rather than “letting it burn.” But file those plans away, for now. Let the Democrats defend their “change” for a while.