Friday, March 30, 2012


Now that the arguments both for and against ObamaCare have been made, it is in the Supreme Court's hands.  Going into the fight, the law's supporters were cocky and arrogant.  Coming out the other side, it's a different story, to say the least (actually, the term "panic" seems to be the go-to phrase).  While we wait for the Court to make it's decision, I'd like to see some ideas from Republicans about what to replace the law with in the event it is struck down.

It is important to note that while oral arguments went badly for ObamaCare, oral arguments are only a small part of the overall process.  It may seem that the law went down in flames, but we won't really know for sure until the Court's session ends in June and they issue their verdict.  They vote today on the issue and will spend the next few months writing their opinions.   Keep in mind, too, that their vote today might not be the final verdict we see this summer.  Justices have been known to change their vote upon reading a particularly persuasive opposing argument.  So we really won't know for sure until the published opinions are released over the summer.  Anything released before then is mere speculation and should be regarded as such.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli is taking the brunt of the blame from the left for the judicial beating the law took over the last few days.  Poor guy.  His inability to defend the mandate's alleged constitutionality wasn't due to incompetence, it was due to the indefensible unconstitutionality of the mandate.  Simply dismissing talk of constitutionality out of hand as the left has consistently done is just not a convincing argument outside of the echo chamber. His stumbling over whether it was a tax or a penalty wasn't because he is too inept to figure out the difference, it's because he has been put in the difficult position of trying to, at times, make it not just both, but also neither.  I'd say he did a pretty damn good job, considering. 

The law, as conservatives have been saying for two years now, is fatally flawed.  That has now been made quite clear by the probing questions of the Justices that cut through to the constitutionality (or lack thereof) at the heart of the matter.  The question now is severability.  How do you strike down the mandate without causing an insurance industry "death spiral"?  How do they decide what stays and what goes (my favorite comment on it was Scalia's invocation of eighth amendment protections from cruel and unusual punishment in regards to having to read the bill)?

While we wait for the verdict of the court, due sometime this summer, Congressional Republicans need to take the opportunity to talk about their free market solutions in the event the law is struck down.  Having a series of small bills that would implement those solutions at the ready would be a wise decision as well, particularly since the White House has decided to forgo a contingency plan, preferring to keep all of their eggs in the ObamaCare basket. 

Any talk of a "comprehensive" republican approach should be shunned.  If we didn't want a 2,700 page monstrosity from the left, why in heaven's name would we want the same from the right?  Small, targeted bills that address health insurance issues point by point are the way to go, not colossal, byzantine laws that will require judicial intervention to interpret. 

The "goodies" former Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised us have already been rolled out, and lots of people have felt the benefits of them, particularly those with pre-existing conditions (like myself).  Many liberal pundits have  argued in support of the law by talking about the pain that would be felt if it was struck down.  But keeping the whole confusing, cumbersome, ever-more-expensive law because of a few perks is not a good idea. 

What we need to keep in mind is that striking down the law in toto won't create a vacuum, it will return us to the pre-obamacare system.  A system that was cheaper, and covered more people, by the way.  This doesn't mean republicans shouldn't have a game plan ready, though, because while ObamaCare made things worse, they weren't that great to begin with.  It should be obvious that among the solutions republicans need to offer is a continuation of the two most popular "goodies" - abolition of pre-existing conditions and an option for parents to keep their 26 year-old adult children on their insurance.  The costs for these perks will be passed on to the consumers who opt for them, of course - but then, you're only fooling yourself if you thought they weren't going to under ObamaCare. 

Republicans also need to start making the argument for severing the ties between health insurance and employment, as well as relaxing the regulations governing interstate commerce that keeps the more than one thousand insurance companies in this country from practicing in all fifty states.  Toss in a little torte reform and and a few other free market ideas, and the disastrously lumbering behemoth that was ObamaCare can be replaced with a consumer-oriented free market that can be tailored to each individual customer according to their needs, not government diktat.

Isn't it amazing that Congress wasn't allowed to read the bill before they voted for it, the president didn't bother to read it before he signed it, and now some members of the Supreme Court are calling reading it an eighth amendment violation?  Considering the way it was written, it seems even those who were tasked with writing it didn't bother read it.  But we're all supposed to be overjoyed and filled with gratitude for having to living under it.  Yeah, right.

 For all we know, the Court could decide to uphold the law. God forbid. But in the meantime, doesn't it make sense to be prepared if they don't?

Oh, and that lame spin from the left about the law's repeal being good for democrats and bad for republicans?  Wow.  Proof positive of democratic over reach and the downfall of Obama's signature achievement due to it's being unconstitutional is going to be bad for republicans, eh?  Boy, they really are freaking out over on the left, aren't they?  They must be tied up in knots to come up with such ridiculously twisted logic.  It's almost a little sad, isn't it? 



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