The Tea-Party Plan to Delay/Defund Obamacare Was Not Only More Realistic, It Was More Compassionate

One of the more irritating aspects of the recent government-shutdown unpleasantness has been the “I told you so” lamentations of the defund/delay plan’s critics — as if they had anything approaching a workable alternative. I highly recommend Andrew McCarthy’s weekend column. It’s a devastating takedown of the notion that Obamacare repeal is just a multi-election Republican winning spree away. Even if we were able to achieve a Republican perfect storm, sweeping the Senate in 2014 then taking the White House in 2016, does anyone foresee a filibuster-proof Republican senate majority? Isn’t the best-case outcome of that strategy a tweaking of the law not unlike, say, welfare reforms in the 1990s — positive changes that still leave intact a trillion-dollar-per-year, failed entitlement superstructure?

As Mr. McCarthy notes, the tea-party plan was a Hail Mary pass, but those sometimes work. I will note, however, that unlike in every football game I’ve ever watched, in this case members of the offense actually joined the defense in batting down the pass.

Not only did the tea-party plan have a chance, it was far less cynical and far more compassionate than the Republican alternative. The Republican alternative to the tea-party plan boils down to this: Let the people suffer (also called “let Obamacare implode”), then they’ll come to us, we’ll win a bunch of elections over several cycles, then we’ll make it better.

Well, step one is working (if that’s the right word to use). People are suffering. Over the weekend, NBC News reported that 460,000 Americans in just two states (California and Florida) face insurance-plan cancellations as they’re being driven to the non-functioning exchanges. That’s ten times more people facing cancellations in just two states than have (allegedly) enrolled in Obamacare plans nationwide.

Imagine being a middle-aged man or woman, staring at a cancellation notice, and desperately trying to sign up for new insurance through a website that doesn’t work. How would you feel?

What’s the Republican response to that? Remember this feeling, vote for us for the next two cycles, and we’ll make it better by 2017? I know the Tea Party’s answer. They laid their political futures on the line to stop a plan that is hurting millions of Americans, and they will keep doing so at every opportunity until this monstrosity is repealed.

And yes I know that’s not how the mainstream media portrays it, and with some Republican critics echoing the media line, the tea-party message may never fully penetrate, but — at the end of the day — there’s a truth of the matter, and the truth is the Tea Party did everything in its power to stop a law that is inflicting huge costs on the American people. That was the right decision, and it was the compassionate decision.

I’m glad they tried.

  • Andrew Dowling

    The wide majority of people in the current individual market in the exchanges will ultimately be paying the same or less and be receiving more robust insurance (and of course the technical problems with the websites are bad but let’s see in a month if the majority of issues aren’t resolved). Your cries of doom and gloom in typical fashion ignore basic realities, which is that millions of people who could not get affordable health insurance will now be able to get it.

    • David French

      Define “affordable.”

      • stanz2reason

        Substantially less than it is now?

      • cowalker

        If you simply can’t get coverage due to a pre-existing condition, “affordable” doesn’t even come into it.

  • KarenJo12

    If you wanted to repeal the law you needed to win in 2012. You lost, and your buddies attempted a coup against the duly elected government. Get over your temper tantrum.

    • David French

      Each of those House members won their election, and you define a coup as the use of constitutionally-permitted means of political negotiation, a means used by Democrats more than a dozen times in the modern era?

      • BuckTucker

        Constitutionally permitted means of political negotiation ? Are you serious ? The time for negotiating was when both parties agreed to the budget way back in April. The democrats tried to get the republicans to negotiate 18 times by requesting a vote on unanimous consent to go to conference and 18 times they refused.
        You seem confused on what negotiation is. If you want to negotiate you have to put something on the table the other side wants like immigration reform or gun control. You simply cannot attach demands to a funding bill that must pass with or without those demands and expect those demands to be met.
        That makes a mockery of the legislative process, the democratic process, the rule of law and the constitution you so adamantly claim to support.
        Even so you claim the democrats have used this at least a dozen times but you don’t hear democrats running around claiming to be doing the lord’s work. Should you not hold yourself to a higher standard if you are to make such a claim.
        Evangelicals should stop misusing their religion by treating it like its some sort of political organization and learn to use it for spiritual growth and guidance.

  • praxagora

    Why is this in the Evangelical channel? Do you guys post anything about faith anymore or is it all politics?

  • JasonMankey

    Complaining about the Affordable Care Act is like complaining about Thanksgiving dinner before eating it. The ACA is just getting started. Why not reserve judgement (and complaining) until early next January when we’ll all have a better idea of whether or not it’s going to work?

  • outragex

    Please see this site’s companion article for another view of health reform:

    Lord knows that Obamacare has problems and will need tweaking on a frequent basis (like Social Security, Medicare or any large private insurance or govt. program). However, the Republican/conservative group has shown no sincere interest in bringing health coverage to those left out of the market until now. While Obamacare is not perfect, it represents a serious, compassionate attempt to better the lives of millions. This is preferable to the conservative denial or avoidance of the issue.

    • Nancy French

      “Romneycare” is conservative and actually works.

      • outragex

        I agree. My point is that the GOP and conservatives turned completely against Romneycare when the president embraced a similar model. Romney couldn’t even emphasize his sucess because by 2012 his plan was heretical to the base of his party. Obama-Romneycare was outlined and advanced by conservatives at the Heritage Foundation long before the 2003 election. Yet Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney made no attempt to encourage states or the Fed govt. to adopt it when running. I see the conservative side as saying outright that the unregulated market is the only way for health insurance to be done even though we have never found a way for it to work before (and no other nation has either). Furthermore, conservatives don’t give any credit to the Democrats for trying to bring care to millions. It’s a case of not seeing the forest for the trees when Dems are villified and lied about for a compassionate effort to help our neighbors…even if one disagrees with how they do it.

  • BuckTucker

    By your logic Obama and Boehner were on the same side. Obama wanted the government shutdown and Boehner accommodated him by keeping it shut down.
    Also taking a stand based on your beliefs is counter productive to the democratic process. If everyone took a stand the way evangelicals do the only thing we would get done is butting heads with one another. Do that long enough and you will come to hate the people with whom you disagree. Calling them your enemy and refusing to work together for the common good because of your beliefs. That will be followed by other ideological and illogical stands like the belief that you need to “take” back the country or “purge” the republican party of those you deem unworthy.
    It is an ideology that is doomed to fail and maybe just maybe when it does you will recognize the answer is right in front of you and always has been. We are all Americans. We have two choices. Work together for the common good of the country that Reagan spoke so frequently about or continue to divide this country by being too quick to take a stand and too slow to understand. Dividing this country up until it is no longer divisible.