Top Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington, is walking back comments attributed to her that Obamacare can't be repealed. But she's not the only one suggesting that the goal should be making changes within the framework of the health law. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, says the goal is to get the law "fixed." Apparently, a lot of Republican lawmakers still haven't read the law. If they had, they'd know the framework is corrupt.
Even presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, speculated on Friday that repeal is unlikely, because it will be "difficult to turn the clock back."
Nonsense. Even by the most inflated Obama administration claims, some 8 million people have signed up for exchange plans out of a nation of 318 million. Obamacare is able to be repealed and should be replaced with a plan to cover the uninsured and reduce costs.
Obamacare's authors paid lip service to these goals but had an ulterior motive: forging a permanent Democratic majority. The law creates a huge infrastructure for enrolling millions of people not just in health care but also food stamps, housing assistance and other welfare programs — and registering them to vote.
Here are the pillars of this corrupt scheme. None of the minor fixes Republicans are discussing come even close to sweeping away this corruption.
—Navigators and assisters (Section 1311): Instead of government employees promoting Obamacare and enrolling the uninsured, the law reserves these jobs for community activists, unions, community health centers and other not-for-profits. Players include the NAACP, Planned Parenthood and the Service Employees International Union. Hiring these groups is a way to fund the shadow army of the Democratic Party in between elections.
Assisters sign up the uninsured for non-health benefits and register them to vote. The National Association of Community Health Centers identifies voter registration as a key part of its mission. The whole scheme recalls the days of Tammany Hall, when local ward bosses got the poor and newly arrived whatever they needed in exchange for their votes. Obamacare institutionalizes this corrupt model and pays for it with your premiums.
—Bailouts for insurers (Section 1342): Obamacare rules make it impossible for insurers to offer "affordable" plans and still cover their costs. The premiums have to cover a long list of mandatory benefits as well as $100 billion in taxes on insurers over the decade. Insurers also have to cover seriously ill people for the same price as healthy people. Every state that tried this "community rating" scheme has seen premiums soar, as the healthy stop buying the plans.
To fool the public into thinking Obamacare is affordable, the law includes a bailout. It encourages insurers to price plans below cost, with the assurance that taxpayer money will make them whole for most losses at the end of the year. In short, John Q. Public is paying to make a law look affordable that isn't. Worse, in January, the Obama administration sweetened the bailout terms, something only Congress has the authority to do.
—The final pillar is the big lie that this law is paid for: Reductions in future Medicare spending pay for over half the law, including a staggering 27 percent cut in payments to Medicare Advantage plans. That's on paper. But the administration is postponing the Medicare Advantage cuts to dodge angry seniors. Also postponed is the employer mandate requiring workplaces with 50 or more full-time employees to provide a costly package of benefits. In anticipation of that mandate, employers are holding their workforces below 50 or cutting hours below the law's zany 30-hour a week definition of full time. In the first seven months of 2013, an astounding 77 percent of hires were part time.
With the employer mandate, the economy cannot recover. Without it, millions more will need taxpayer-funded coverage, and Obamacare will collapse.
So much for the false sales pitch that Obamacare is paid for and repealing it would increase the deficit. Attention GOP: Repeal this "stinkburger" and replace it with a health insurance safety net built on compassion, not lies.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and the author of "Beating Obamacare." She reads the law so you don't have to. Visit www.betsymccaughey.com. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.