Based on the media coverage of health-care reform, one might think that Obamacare is inevitable. National Review Online wanted a second opinion, so we consulted some of our health-care experts to ask: Can Obamacare be beaten, and how can we beat it? The following is Tevi Troy's contribution.
Given the large Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate, it's actually surprising that the Democrats have not passed something yet. This failure is due to three factors: Democratic overreach, principled and focused Republican opposition, and some very damaging initial scores by the CBO. Still, the fight is far from over, and Republicans will need to step up their efforts in the crucial weeks ahead. Two suggestions for Republicans going forward include:
Stick Together — Harry Reid's decision to ignore Olympia Snowe's wishes and push forward with the public option despite Snowe's support at the Committee level should tell other wavering Republicans that they have little to gain from switching sides. The Obama plans are expensive, fail to insure everyone, do not bend the cost curve down, and will raise taxes. There is no benefit to Republicans in jumping aboard, and a lot of potential gain in having the ability to say "I told you so" when this turns out badly.
Push for Good Ideas — One of the oldest rules in politics is you can't beat something with nothing, and the only reason Republicans have done as well as they have thus far is that the Democratic somethings have been so bad. That said, the Republicans need to show that they are not, as the Democrats have accused, the party of no. There are many good Republican ideas out there, whether stand-alone concepts like allowing individuals to purchase insurance across state lines, or packages like Jeff Anderson's simple plan and the Coburn-Burr/Ryan-Nunes Patients Choice Act of 2009. Republicans need to show that they have great ideas that would insure as many or more people with less money, but that Democrats will not let GOP ideas come up for a vote.