How did we get to this place? It’s simple: “we had to pass the bill in order to find out what’s in it” — those famed, or shall we say, fateful words of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She was talking about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, and who will ever forget her repetitive emphasis on the singular word, “affordable” at a House press conference.
Well, after seven years, many came to realize it was not affordable when the insurance premium sticker shock hit last October. And how many times did we hear Barack Obama assure us we’d see $2500 in savings and we could keep your doctor, and your health insurance? That latter statement by Obama was awarded the 2013 Politifact “Lie of the Year.” I could go on ad nauseum with the countless examples of the failure of Obamacare, but we still have folks — chuckleheads — who believe it’s a success.
Now, there’s a part of me wants to say, ok, y’all believe government exists to give you everything? Yep, Obamacare stays. It’s just like with parents who tell the child not to touch the hot stove…but the child still does and realizes it burns.
Perhaps the time has come when the American people need to learn a hard lesson: the stove is hot, and the people who claim to give you something for free are liars. But no, the benevolence of our nature means we keep trying to prevent the child from touching the hot stove, therefore, the child NEVER believes the stove is hot.
This is where we are in America with progressive socialism. Some still don’t believe the stove is hot, and that progressive socialism is a failed premise of governance. And here comes the GOP trying to keep the people away from the stove, the flaming hot stove of Obamacare, a massive tax and welfare endeavor that will burn this nation. But the problem is, the GOP wants to try and keep the stove on, in an attempt to regulate its heat, instead of shutting it off.
And I’m p*ssed.As reported by Fox News, “White House officials said late Thursday President Trump wants the House to vote Friday on the legislation to begin dismantling Obamacare, and if it fails, he is “done with health care,” and ready to move on to tax reform, a source told Fox News.
“My understanding is he’s going to get it,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on “The O’Reilly Factor.” “We’re hoping to make this the last anniversary that any American has to suffer under Obamacare by instilling a patient-centric health care system in place, and the president has made that case to members throughout the spectrum of the Republican conference, and tomorrow, it’s time to vote,” he added.
“For seven and a half years we’ve been promising the American people that we will repeal and replace this broken law because it’s collapsing and failing families,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters after meeting with Republican leaders. “Tomorrow we’re proceeding.”
If there’s one thing President Trump must comprehend, it’s that this is not a reality TV show, and you don’t just tell people “you’re fired.” If you want to make the deal, it requires an understanding of the three aspects of Capitol Hill — policy, politics, and procedure.
Here’s how I would have proceeded with this if I were House Speaker.
As soon as the election results of November 2016 were known, I would have assembled a GOP majority policy team (task force) for the incoming Congress. There would have been tax, healthcare, foreign policy, and national security/defense teams. I would have shared this concept with the GOP Senate and requested likewise from the Majority Leader in order to have synchronization.
These policy task force teams would represent the respective “factions” of the GOP, being moderate and conservative. As House Speaker, I’d provide them with planning guidance and a timeline for back briefings on policy development. The purpose of this whole endeavor would be to have a way ahead that meets a 75 percent key tasks achievement that becomes the legislative agenda for the first 100 days.
The task forces would have been responsible to brief and present to new members in that first week our plan of action. And as Speaker that would have been it, we then execute. I wouldn’t have cared about retreats, recesses, or time off…we had business to get done and by the end of those first 100 days, reforms to our healthcare system, tax, regulatory apparatus and spending would have been on the president’s desk. And I would simply say to the Democrats, happy to have you on board, or you’ll have tread marks on your backs.
The GOP leadership on Capitol Hill just seems to lack a sense of boldness…principled conviction.
In the case of Obamacare, we would have first gone back and passed the 2015 repeal that Obama vetoed. That would have been ready for President Trump’s signature upon his inauguration. The date for repeal could have been set to coincide with the beginning of the new fiscal year, October 1 2017, or the new calendar year, January 1, 2018. The healthcare reform policy task force’s objective would then be to message exactly what the replacement for Obamacare looks like. We would articulate the way ahead for the working poor, those Americans with pre-existing conditions. We would explain our vision is that we shall not make the mistake of mandating healthcare to Americans. We would make it clear that twenty new taxes have nothing to do with affordable healthcare and how the regulatory environment of Obamacare strangled small business growth and how we would restore our economic viability.
We would present exactly how we’d drive down the costs by qualitative measures such as increased portability, increased competition, national tort reform. The designated healthcare policy team would take the lead on the legislative messaging and be joined with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, once confirmed.
The problem is that no one really knows what the GOP is proposing. The American people, who mostly operate in a soundbite mentality, could not cohesively explain the GOP proposal, the Democrats just lied and said it’s free, nothing more than Medicaid expansion.
When you have the House Speaker with rolled up sleeves going through a bunch of Powerpoint slides, well, you’ve lost the debate. This has to be explained in easy terms that Americans can understand, and the left cannot assail. But it cannot be done when you haven’t cleared the deck — actually, thrown out the old stove that is Obamacare.
The GOP has failed to do what any young military leader knows: develop a plan of action. And no plan of action has to be 100 percent perfection, because as we know, no plan survives first contact. However, show me any military leader who would take a previous failed plan and try to tinker with it and execute it. In essence, that’s what the GOP is attempting to do with Obamacare — fight a failed plan and use it as a basis to go forward.
It never ceases to amaze me that the GOP can take a winning situation and botch it. The liberal progressive left is on its heels, and all you had to do was have a plan…and don’t get me started on this folly called a border protection tax.
I know the GOP is using the budget reconciliation tool for the healthcare reform, but the American people are leery of procedural gimmicks they don’t comprehend. As a matter of fact, this is exactly what the Democrats did back in 2009-2010 — used procedural tricks to push through Obamacare. There is power in doing what’s right, and that means the right policy. It’s also politically savvy, and wins the American people…President Trump’s address to the joint session of Congress was an example. Tell the American people what the problem is and your vision to rectify the situation, simply, your policy solution. I shared with y’all my assessment of the GOP plan a few weeks back. I tried to make it simple, easily understood, and even easier to execute.
The GOP needs to set itself apart from the left and say to the American people that individual personal healthcare decisions are yours to make, not governments. Yes, there must be a safety net, but not hammocks. It’s time to tell the children that the stove is hot, but not try to shelter them from the danger of realizing what hot means.
What will happen today on Capitol Hill? Who freaking knows, but it’s a Charlie Foxtrot that did not have to be. Why do we need more former military leaders in Congress? Because we’re trained to make the complex simple, because we live by the KISS rule.
We’re able to quickly make decisions in very tense situations and direct others to execution of a plan. And mostly, because we understand how to plan, and how to lead. Sadly, we’re watching a bipartisan kabuki dance at a place where common sense is truly an uncommon virtue.