Here is advice for conservatives in the White House and Freedom Caucus trying to hash out an ObamaCare replacement.
The White House and Freedom Caucus are trying to hash out another ACA replacement, but both should consider working with progressives and liberals (especially the less ideological and more populist ones; but just generally any people they can reasonably work with).
Yes, our country is divided into red-team-blue-team. It really couldn’t be more polarized, and it is having some really beautiful and ugly effects. Good and bad aside, in such times the worst thing we can do is continue to divide without at least trying to reach across the aisle.
This isn’t because of “politics,” this is because the best answers are found in the middle, and each team only knows its own perspective. If it acts from only its own perspective, it will be spitting in the face of democracy and federalism and will come up with half-baked ideas. These half-baked ideas will then undo the ruling party (which in this case would be Republicans). The worst case is that this only results in another polarization when the pendulum swings.
The people don’t understand healthcare like politicians do, and political emotions are loud, but people understand results. If you give them a pile of half-baked right-wing healthcare, they will hate it just like they hated aspects of left-wing health care. This will have a gravitational effect and pull the party down (which is fine for me politically, but probably not ideal for the country).
The people are not pawns in a game of chess, and we aren’t playing a game of “please the 60 million.” We have 320 million bodies a year who need a fair deal here. Give them a square deal, a new deal, or new nationalism, but give them something that works for everybody, not just right-wingers or corporations, but for all diverse Americans in the many cities and rural areas of our 50 states.
If you want to take away the requirement for essential benefits, do it in an equitable way. Let’s keep the benefits, but offer a secondary product with reduced assistance that doesn’t have to follow the rules and is labeled clearly. That is an individualist, federalist, and a fair solution.
Deregulate the private market, but let a national public fund be created that can compete.
Don’t create a national solution, but seek state-based solutions that allow enough funding and leeway to be effective.
There are countless approaches to this, but all require taking the best ideas of the left and right. The best ideas of one side are only at best 1/2 of the good ideas. Ask providers what they think, ask insurers, ask people with cancer, ask the working poor, listen to your opposition. A deal between the far-right and further-right based on ideology isn’t going to solve anything; it is going to enrage tens of millions.
Here are a few more suggestions. We have offered others across our site.
- Fix all real ObamaCare sticking points, not ideological ones. Fix things like the family glitch, but do not “fix” taxes by repealing them.
- Expand tax credits to 400% – 600% of the Poverty Level.
- Push states to expand Medicaid with unique solutions; this way we can help test to see what the best Medicaid solutions are. If Pence expanded, then any state red or blue should be able to find an option that works for them.
- Expand HSAs and allow for power accounts like Pence’s HIP 2.0.
- Include a public option that can be bundled with Medicaid state by state allowing people to buy into a public plan that supports other Americans.
- The public option then replaces the mandate, as those who would owe the fee can get the option. Those who don’t want this should be able to opt-out.