With the passage of Obama-care, many Americans feel as if government has slapped us in the face. And that's probably putting it mildly. Predictably, many are calling for a repeal effort after the coming November elections. While speaking about "repeal" makes people feel better, it will not happen. Here's why:
There are not enough Democrat seats up for election in the US Senate to establish a veto-proof majority; conservatives need to capture 27 seats for a veto-proof Senate, and only 15 are up for election this fall.
In the House, we need to win 112 seats to become veto-proof; while all indications are there will be significant conservative gains in the House in November, retaking 112 seats would be a turnaround of epic proportions. Thus, any repeal passed, even with new Republican majorities in the House and Senate, will be vetoed by the President, and the House and Senate will have the required votes to override the veto.
There are, however, steps we can take to mitigate ObamaCare's assault on our personal freedoms and our free enterprise system. At the same time, Congress can implement the true reforms we do need, without the shameful Congressional bribery and special interest payoffs that were needed to pass ObamaCare.
First, Congress should reverse the Medicare cuts the Democrats dumped on our seniors. These cuts will harm seniors' health and will drive up their medical costs dramatically. Reversing them is the right thing to do.
Second, Congress should pass legislation requiring all elected members, congressional staff and Executive staff to use the ObamaCare plan for as long as it remains law. We must put an end to exemptions of the ruling elites from the policies and laws they enact for the people they are supposed to serve.
Third, Congress should deny funding for ObamaCare using the appropriations process. This will immediately stop the government takeover of our health care system comprising16% of our national economy.
Fourth, Congress needs to implement real health insurance reform, including (1) "loser-pays" tort reform requiring the losing attorney to pay some of the costs; (2) negating state restrictions on insurance competition; (3) requiring portability; (4) providing better tax incentives to businesses that insure employees; and, (5) allowing families to deduct the full cost of health insurance from federal income tax. These actions will significantly reduce health insurance costs; they will not raise taxes, and they will make health insurance available to all but the very poor.
Fifth: As a nation, we can provide a safety net for those who are truly unable to afford health insurance. It makes no sense -- and it costs a huge amount -- to care for them in hospital Emergency Rooms. Options we should consider include:
- expanding Medicare and means testing participants
- providing additional tax deductions to people under certain income thresholds
- eliminating fraud and waste in the current Medicare system
- further expanding the availability and use of Medical Savings Accounts
Everything should be on the table, except creating a massive, expensive and inefficient government health care bureaucracy.
Sixth, and perhaps most importantly, Americans must remain active and vigilant. By staying energized and working hard, we can capture enough seats in 2010 to stop the runaway spending and massive expansion of government we have seen during the past year. If a Republican/fiscal conservative wins the White House in 2012, only then might we be able to repeal ObamaCare and accomplish the fiscally responsible and still-much-needed reforms to address the problems with the health insurance industry.
True health insurance reform will requires us to think long-term, use all our resources and consider all possible options. But we cannot and must not accept the huge expansion of government bureaucracies and costs that was just signed into law. With your help, I am confident that we can send this healthcare debacle - and Mr. Obama - on a well deserved march into history.