(Centennial Fellow) In the battle over health care the Democrats’ great advantage was successfully identifying themselves with the plight of thirty three million uninsured Americans. When Republicans advanced their own plan to the Congressional Budget Office it was shown to extend coverage to a mere three million people. For the remainder of the debate the Democrats-greatly aided by the media- used this disparity as a stick to relentlessly beat Republicans for their “callous indifference” to the uninsured Though current polling is highly favorable to Republicans as we move closer to the November elections it will not be enough to campaign solely on repeal of Obamacare. It is imperative for Republicans to identify and rally around a credible alternative that persuasively addresses the very real problems of health care in America. In doing so they must decisively take the issue of the uninsured away from the Democrats and make it their own trump card.
Recently just such a credible alternative has emerged and it is highly impressive. It is called the “Small Bill”, and it is the brainchild of Jeffrey Anderson, the Director of the Benjamin Rush Society which is an organization of medical professionals who advocate a free health care market. At the outset the Small Bill demonstrates that the “fact” of 33 million uninsured American citizens is a myth, albeit a myth that the Democrats successfully used as a battering ram to pass Obamacare. How did this happen? Throughout a year of public debate many estimates of the number of uninsured were bandied about-commonly anywhere from thirty to fifty million. At some point the Democrats and an uncritical media fastened on the number 33 million, and Republicans made little effort to contest it. Another number-rarely mentioned- was total U.S. population, currently estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau at 309 million people. The juxtaposition of the numbers 33 and 309 is important because it offers perspective on the dimensions of “The Problem”. Whether a problem is “huge and overwhelming” or “serious but manageable” goes far toward shaping appropriate legislation.
Even accepting the 33 million figure, that is barely 11 percent of total population, a number which must be contrasted with the 85% (according to most polls) of Americans who were basically satisfied with their existing healthcare programs. The perspectives offered by such contrasts and comparisons and their policy implications were never seriously spotlighted in the public debate. Neither was much attention given to analysis of who the uninsured were, and why they lacked coverage. Opponents of Obamacare missed an important opportunity when they failed to drill down on these numbers, because fairly authoritative data was available from the U.S. Census Bureau which reports that there are actually 28 million uninsured Americans: 46 million uninsured people living in the United States, less 9 million non-citizens, and less 9 million people on Medicaid who the Census reports were mistakenly listed as uninsured. Unfortunately CBO estimates count the 18 million non-citizens and Medicaid recipients as uninsured. The Census further tells us that not all of the remaining 28 million lack insurance because they are poor since about half of them earn more than the median U.S. income. These 14 million-presumptively younger and / or healthier people- have as is their right simply chosen not to buy health coverage. Thus in the end we are left with 14 million people- just 4.5 percent of total U.S. population- who are uninsured and relatively low income. By right these figures should have propelled Congress away from the “huge and overwhelming” perception toward the “serious but manageable perception”. Unfortunately for the country, it didn’t. Unlike the Democrats’ 2,700 page bill, the Small Bill can be summarized on a single page, hence the name. It offers seven very specific solutions to controlling health care costs and covering the uninsured. They are: 1. Serious tort reform; 2. allowing insurance purchase across state lines; 3. allowing lower premiums for healthier lifestyles; 4. giving the uninsured and self-insured the same tax breaks as people with employer provided programs; 5. increasing federal support for state-run high risk pools; 6. getting the uninsured out of Emergency Rooms and into less expensive routine care; and 7. implementing a few regulatory and Administrative reforms included in the House Republicans health care proposal. Further details are available at www.smallbill.org or in Jeffrey Anderson’s excellent National Review article (April 19, 2010). The following contrasts between the Small Bill and Obamacare should more than justify that closer look:
Cost Obamacare – 2.5 trillion; Small Bill- 180 billion Taxes Obamacare – 1 trillion dollars; Small Bill- zero Medicare Advantage cuts Obamacare – 254 billion; Small Bill- zero Insurance Premiuns Obamacare – 10-13 % increase; Small Bill- 5-8 % decrease
10 year cost Obamacare – 76,000 dollars; Small Bill- 18,000 dollars per newly insured person
Deficit Spending 2015-19 Obamacare – 139 billion dollars; Small Bill- deficit neutral (CBO estimates) If this cost comparison was clearly and persuasively presented to American voters, which plan do you think they would prefer? Let Jeffrey Anderson have the last word: “Lower insurance premiums instead of higher, no trillion dollar tax hike, no hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare cuts- and all at 7 percent of the cost of the Democrats’ program. If the Small Bill sounds too good to be true, that illustrates how colossally bad Obamacare is”. Absent a better idea, Republicans should validate, refine, and rally around this proposal as a centerpiece of their Fall campaign strategy. Done right the Small Bill could be a key engine driving a massive Republican victory in the most important mid-term elections of our lifetime.__________________________________________________________________________ William Moloney’s columns have appeared in the Wall St Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and Human Events.
(Centennial Fellow) The current controversy around Obamacare echoes the debate over ratification of the Constitution in 1787-88. Contention then centered on how the government would obtain and maintain the sufficient support of the people, while at the same time protecting the people’s liberties. Both the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists agreed that this indeed was the proper role of government. Their disagreement lay in how best to constitute a government to achieve these desired ends. For government to be legitimate, it must maintain a voluntary attachment and obedience to the laws.
For the Federalists, a new theory of government – the “extended compound republic” – was believed to be the solution to these challenges. By introducing a diversity of opinions from a large geographical expanse (made possible by representative government), the Federalists believed that laws passed by elected officials would only be passed with the widespread support of a clear majority of the people. At the same time, laws harmful to the rights of the people would be very difficult to pass through the layers of checks and balances established in the compound republic. Finally, the Federalists argued that a system of “dual sovereignties” was created by the Constitution of 1787, with distinct powers held by the states and other distinct powers given to the national government. This division of power provided the necessary balance and security for the individual citizen’s liberties.
The Anti-Federalists were highly skeptical that this new science of government crafted by Madison and his fellow convention delegates would satisfy either of these significant concerns. Simply having elected officials who were to represent the interests of the people in the national government was seen as no security at all to the opponents of ratification. In fact, Robert Yates, a New York judge writing under the pseudonym Brutus, argued that the people “will have no confidence in their legislature, suspect them of ambitious views, be jealous of every measure they adopt, and will not support the laws they pass.” Brutus suggests that rather than having the voluntary attachment to the laws – because they reflect a majority will of the people – the people will instead be highly skeptical of them.
When the people are skeptical of their laws, they will have neither a voluntary attachment nor a voluntary obedience to them, which leads to the second great concern of the Anti-Federalists: when the people don’t voluntarily support the nation’s laws, they will necessarily be coerced or forced to obey them. Richard Henry Lee, a leading founder, noted that when public opinion is not behind our laws, “force then becomes necessary to secure the purposes of civil government.”
Finally, the Anti-Federalists did not accept the argument that “dual sovereignties” could be long maintained. Inevitably, they would tend in one direction or the other, and the Anti-Federalists were certain that this tendency would ultimately move away from the states in favor of the national government.
The historic debate on protecting liberty and ensuring popular legislation was not resolved in 1787 -- indeed it holds great relevance for us today. Health care reform is a present-day example reflecting the very real concerns of both the Federalists and Anti-Federalists of whether laws would be passed with widespread support – ensuring voluntary attachment and obedience to them – and whether or not our liberty is secure. The most recent Rasmussen survey finds that 54% of respondents now favor repeal of the Health Care Reform. In the analysis of the poll they find that: ** Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters think the plan will increase the deficit despite assurances from the plan’s supporters that just the opposite is the case.
** Twenty-two percent (22%) say the quality of health care in America will get better under the new plan, but 52% think it will get worse.
** Fifty-six percent (56%) believe the plan will cause the cost of health care to go up.
It is quite clear that this law fails the test of widespread support. And when individual citizens are forced to purchase health insurance at the risk of being fined, there is indeed a new threat on our liberty. Brutus and Lee’s worst fears appear to have been proven true: law in this instance does not reflect the will of the people and force will be necessary in order to secure obedience.
Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, one of several contenders for the Republican nomination in Colorado's 7th congressional district, pledged Tuesday night at CCU that if elected, "I will fight to repeal this health care monstrosity and replace it with free-market reforms."
Frazier spoke on health care, the deficit, and other issues to a packed audience of students and campus neighbors, about 50 in all. The event was sponsored by the Colorado Republicans chapter at Colorado Christian University.
CD-7 takes in much of Jefferson County, including Lakewood where the university is located, as well as parts of other counties in Denver's north and west suburbs.
An invitation to speak at CCU as a guest of the Centennial Institute is pending with Congressman Ed Perlmutter, the Democratic incumbent.
Others seeking the GOP nomination in CD-7, including Mike Sheely and Jimmy Lakey (who has since dropped out) have attended Centennial forums in the past.
CCU student David Keimig, well-experienced with the health care system, listens to candidate Ryan Frazier's policy discussion Tuesday evening.