According to those in the elite salons of Washington, ObamaCare cannot be repealed. The conventional wisdom on the cocktail circuit contends that once you mandate health insurance for millions, you cannot unmandate it. This theoretical belief has become accepted in Washington as a dogmatic article of faith. And the Obamacrats and most of the press believe that repeating this mantra often enough will make it so.
Of course, many Beltway insiders claim that ObamaCare cannot be repealed because they wish to preserve the financial windfalls the law has brought them.
From the Big Pharma CEO bragging about the “rock-solid deal” benefitting his industry, to the health insurers who have a captive audience of Americans now required to purchase their products, to the lobbyists seeking preferential treatment in regulations, ObamaCare has become big business to the K Street crowd. No wonder so many view repeal of the law as fantastical—it would take away their gravy train.
But even many conservative “thinkers” in Washington have given in to ObamaCare fatalism. They may not say so in public, but they fully believe that talk of the law’s repeal exists only in the land of unsophisticated rubes.
The country that won two world wars and put a man on the moon cannot, it is believed, repeal a disastrous public policy. Says who? Why not?
I know a little bit about health care policy, having spent most of my adult life analyzing and implementing policy changes on the state and federal levels. And based on my decades of experience, the idea that ObamaCare cannot be repealed defies both logic and real world justification, on multiple levels.
First, the fact that the federal government has by force of law and under pain of taxation forced millions to sign up does not constitute “success” or “progress.” In fact, I bet the administration could have raised their enrollment totals even higher if friendly IRS agents had paid personal visits to all Americans “encouraging” them to enroll.
The real “progress” thus far from ObamaCare? Health care premiums have gone up, health care costs continue to escalate, and millions of consumers are losing their plans and finding that they may not be able to see their doctors any longer.
Let’s remember, too, that ObamaCare was sold on a series of deceptions – if you like your plan you can keep your plan, you can keep your doctor, and premiums will decrease on average $2,500 per year.
To pass ObamaCare in the first place, the American people were sold a bill of goods that would make even P.T. Barnum blush.
In one sense, the smart guys are correct. Conservatives do need to articulate alternatives to ObamaCare—because the American people need relief from premiums that continue to skyrocket.
The plan I endorsed last month would do just that—focus like a laser beam on reducing costs. The Congressional Budget Office previously analyzed many of the policies included in our plan, and concluded they could reduce premiums by thousands of dollars compared to ObamaCare’s surging costs.
Many families struggling with rising premiums and co-payments might believe that they will never see relief. But the notion that we can’t slow the growth of health spending is just as fanciful as the idea that ObamaCare cannot be repealed. The only reason we can’t accomplish both objectives is political will—because Washington needs a Beltway-sized reality check.
Fortunately, there’s a big country out there. We don’t care what they think in Washington, and we are not willing to quit on the idea of America.
Republican Bobby Jindal is governor of Louisiana and Honorary Chairman of America Next, a conservative policy group that focuses on winning the war of ideas.