Third Party & Independents Archives

Whence Conservatism? Uh, How About Repeal and Replace?

CPAC is over, and whence the conservative movement is a grand question hanging in the air. Is it Trump’s movement now, with a splinter true-conservative movement left to virtuously contemplate it’s purity on the margins of political life? Or is the surprising shift of allegiances towards Trump merely provisional and therefore too early to describe as a fundamental shift in political conservatism in America?

This is an exciting and wonderful field of study for historians, and politicos, and economists and journalists and every wonk in the beltway to ponder over. And some day, there will be answers.

But meanwhile, the GOP has to start to actually agree on what type of plan will replace Obamacare, once the ACA has been repealed. Mostly. Sort of. Well, maybe some provisions will be kept. We're working on it. I have a plan that I will present to the Senate/House/Any nearby journalist.

So perhaps how the legislative process sorts out a replaced or reformed (over the Freedom Caucus' dead bodies one imagines) Obamacare, will at least help answer the question of what sort of conservatism the GOP has now embraced in 2017.

If you're a maliciously feisty journalist at The Daily Beast, for example, you proclaim that chaos is the new norm. In the West Wing, at the Oscars, at the town hall meetings. And you likely delight in the fact that GOP members of Congress cannot even agree on whether the replacement plan should have refundable tax credits or tax deductions.

If you would like to see a workable healthcare plan quickly emerging to replace the ACA, then it's a frustrating battle that is going on between conservative and moderate GOP members of Congress. But then again, shouldn't we precisely have fights like this in Congress when such an important piece of legislation is being considered?

What's the difference? A refundable tax credit is money the government basically pays you to help you buy health insurance. A tax deduction is money the government gives back to you, the taxpayer. Or takes their hands off of, before it gets vacuumed up into the government books. And by focusing on such a detailed policy difference, it makes it a little easier for conservative GOP members of Congress to avoid having to say what they really think: healthcare is your responsibility. We can maybe help you save for your insurance plan premiums by improving access to Health Savings Accounts, but we're not going to write you a check to help you buy insurance. We don't do it with your car. We don't do it with your home (ok disaster relief etc. aside). Or with your life insurance. And we're not doing it with your health insurance either.

Cue television documentary with a working class patient with say, a life-threatening lung disease, whose disability payments can barely cover her bills, much less pay for a health insurance plan that covers her medical needs.

The ads, and surely a few documentaries, are being scripted and shot as you read this. Make no mistake. That means that GOP conservative members of Congress are going to have to have a compelling narrative that can show how their type of plan could work for someone like the woman in the not-quite-yet-filmed documentary that's waiting to be shot and released on CNN and to the world.

And that's assuming that conservative members get their way with tax deductions and not refundable tax credits in any replacement plan that Congress finally agrees on. President Trump is about to get a lesson in legislative sausage making. Let's hope he keeps his focus and resolve on this one. He's going to need to come out winning on ACA repeal and replace. Then he can get down to the fun stuff of cutting taxes and trimming regulations.

Posted by AllardK at March 1, 2017 8:43 PM
Comments
Comment #413970
it makes it a little easier for conservative GOP members of Congress to avoid having to say what they really think: healthcare is your responsibility.

This is the Republicans’ fundamental problem. The public’s consensus is that providing health care IS the government’s responsibility. This idea has even infected Donald Trump who as said as much repeatedly both on the campaign trail and most recently in his address to Congress last night (emphasis mine), “we should help Americans purchase their own coverage through the use of tax credits. Of course, Obamacare already delivers its subsidies in an identical manner (tax credits). This is why notable conservative health care policy expert, Philip Klein says Republicans need to stop being wishy washy and own their position. Republicans want to live in a world where many of the people who currently buy affordable insurance on the Obamacare exchange no longer can do so because all available plans will be too expensive. If Republicans are not honest about this, Klein writes about the pickle they will be in:

If, on the other hand, Republicans don’t have the courage to defend their opposition to government healthcare guarantees, they are doomed to fail. The process of replacing Obamacare will be crippled by the conflict between trying to meet some sort of vague coverage target and trying to limit levels of taxes and spending. Even if Republicans manage to pass some sort of plan to repeal and replace Obamacare within these constraints, they will suffer political consequences when the rhetoric they used to sell their plan meets reality.

So, do Republicans actually have the cojones to say, “No, Uncle Same will not pay for your health care”? AllardK gives a rationale for them to say this:

but we’re not going to write you a check to help you buy insurance. We don’t do it with your car. We don’t do it with your home (ok disaster relief etc. aside). Or with your life insurance. And we’re not doing it with your health insurance either.

But is it really tenable to say no to health care when the government already pays for public schooling, public roads, common defense and a robust justice system including due process such as free attorneys for the destitute? People need to ask what makes something a public good vs. a private good and people also need to examine under what circumstances provision of public goods should be government’s responsibility (nearly always, I hope) and under what circumstances provision of private goods should be government’s responsibility (very rarely, I hope).

I will conclude by sharing a comment from another article which is more appropriate here:

Anyway, here’s some food for thought for my conservative friends:

Yesterday, House Speaker Paul Ryan boasted that his party would follow a deliberate, transparent process to repeal and replace Obamacare. “This is how the legislative process is supposed to be designed,” he told the Today show. “We’re not hatching some bill in a backroom and plopping it on the American people’s front door.” Today, House Republicans made it known that they will release their plan tomorrow and that it will only be made available to House Republicans. Representative Chris Collins tells the Washington Examiner the plan “would be made available Thursday morning to Republicans in a basement room of an office building that adjoins the Capitol.”

How did we get to this place where leaders could straight up lie to the American people like this?

Weary Willie responded to this comment:

Are you forgetting the lies the Democratics told the American People, Warren Porter? Such a short memory!

A classic Tu Quoque, WW’s comment fallaciously assumes that errors committed by Democrats somehow justifies Republicans’ behavior.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 2, 2017 12:04 AM
Comment #413982

Back in the Blue Column, WW writes:

“Let he who is free from sin cast the first stone.” “Those who live in glass houses should not throw rocks.” “Keep your own doorstep clean.”

Do these sayings not also apply to Republicans? For nearly a decade, Obama, Pelosi and Reid have been pilloried by Republicans for things that have been a longtime part of the sausage-making process. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, you seek to justify the behavior. Please apologize for the years spent criticizing the process (not the substance, always feel free to criticize the substance) of how the major legislation of the 111th Congress became law.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 2, 2017 9:35 AM
Comment #414009

1) We can always think things more purely than we can do them, because the cooperation of our own imagination and those of others is far easier than getting reality, which has its own principles and hidden natures, to cooperate with our mental visions.

2) Chaos is always the norm when our ability to predict outcomes is outstripped by either the depth of our ignorance or the sensitivity of outcomes to the starting conditions that determine them. It is the norm now because the vision of conservative government is far simpler and far removed from reality, and they are too stubborn to shift their idealized notions of reality towards its actual character. If you’ve got a busted front tire, your mental model for how to drive the car will get you into an accident unless you change it to account for the difference in how the car reacts.

The Republicans and Conservatives out there need to change their model, because they are producing quite different outcomes to what they think should be occurring.

3) The problem for Republicans is that Obamacare actually met a set of needs, actually did good for people, beyond what they predicted. As such, any plan they push through needs to either do as much good as the Obama plan has, or better. That, or it needs to create an alternative system so profoundly better than either the old Status quo or the new, that nobody feels like complaining.

Otherwise, it’s the story of the dog that caught the car it was chasing while it was going in reverse. What people gave this congress the permission to do was improve the situation, not make it worse. But nearly everything the Republicans are considering will make it worse, and the Republicans set pretty high standards for that by insisting that even the “Keep your doctor” loss of insurance policies was unacceptable. Well, if a few million people being kicked off their old cheap policies was evidence of Obamacare failing, then what will millions of people losing coverage look like?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 2, 2017 1:23 PM
Comment #414028

#493182, well WP, so much for your comment that comments made in another column should stay in that column. Another example of the liberal ideology of “do as I say, not as I do”.

Posted by: Blaine at March 2, 2017 3:53 PM
Comment #414031

AllardK wrote; “But then again, shouldn’t we precisely have fights like this in Congress when such an important piece of legislation is being considered?”

Absolutely, we should. It is one reason the senate should return to their old filibuster rules. It is unproductive that either party can threaten to filibuster and end discussion. Discussion is critical to good legislation and must be encouraged.

Whatever legislation is finally produced to replace or improve the ACA, I hope it has bipartisan support.

Stephen wrote; “The Republicans and Conservatives out there need to change their model, because they are producing quite different outcomes to what they think should be occurring.”

Huh?

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 2, 2017 4:19 PM
Comment #414048

Blaine, please smarten up. The topic of AllardK’s article is Obamacare. The comment I originally shared in the blue column regarded Obamacare. This is the proper place to discuss that comment.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 3, 2017 1:16 AM
Comment #414052
The Republicans and Conservatives out there need to change their model, because they are producing quite different outcomes to what they think should be occurring.

Why does this advice never pertain to Democratics?

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 3, 2017 8:39 AM
Comment #414054

Repeal and Replace?
The ACA was rushed, poorly thought out and poorly implemented. And as was predicted, a failure for the common American. Voters turned this country red on a massive scale to fix this mess that the dems forced onto us, but now the GOP wants to p*ssyfoot around because of the actions of a some extremists?

IF I had any faith in them, I would say “It’s only been a month, give them time to get it right.” But that’s not what’s going on.

As expected, all this spineless GOP is going to give us is ‘Renege and Rename.’

Posted by: kctim at March 3, 2017 10:02 AM
Comment #414055
Why does this advice never pertain to Democratics?

I’m sure it would, but Democrats within recent memory have always produced outcomes that are exactly in line of what they think should be occurring.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 3, 2017 10:28 AM
Comment #414056

So, democrats were thinking that common Americans should be paying crazy more for their health care insurance, not saving $2500? That they couldn’t keep their plan or their doctor?
Or was that expected and passing blame onto the insurance companies and Republicans was actually the outcome you thought would occur in the first place?

If so, then kudos. Once again, you are able to blame others for making more people dependent on government.

Posted by: kctim at March 3, 2017 10:56 AM
Comment #414060
So, democrats were thinking that common Americans should be paying crazy more for their health care insurance, not saving $2500? That they couldn’t keep their plan or their doctor?

Americans are not paying “crazy more” for insurance. Premiums today are no higher than what the CBO projected in 2009.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 3, 2017 11:35 AM
Comment #414062


https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2016/07/28/overwhelming-evidence-that-obamacare-caused-premiums-to-increase-substantially/#4ebf451515be

Yes, they are. And we don’t need a link to tell us that either. Our lighter wallets and plans of lesser quality, prove it to us.

Posted by: kctim at March 3, 2017 12:01 PM
Comment #414067

kctim,

I see no reference to CBO projections in your source. Please provide me with proof that premiums are higher than those projected by the CBO.

And yes, we do need a link because everyone I know (including myself) has a heavier wallet and better quality healthcare today because of Obamacare.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 3, 2017 1:06 PM
Comment #414068

Whoops, there’s a second page here for me to read.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 3, 2017 1:08 PM
Comment #414069

OK, Brian Blase devotes three paragraphs to discuss the CBO’s projections on the second page. I find his argument unconvincing. Examples:

CBO also erred in projecting that the reinsurance program would only reduce premiums by about 10% in 2014; in fact, the per enrollee effect of the reinsurance program was double what CBO expected

Great! So the law’s reinsurance program was more effective at reducing premiums than the CBO expected. How does this invalidate the conclusion that the law was more successful than the CBO predicted?

Starting in the mid-2000s, health care inflation slowed and the extent of this slowdown, largely the result of the recession and weak economic recovery, was not anticipated by CBO in 2009.
If the inflation slowed due to the recession, then why didn’t it go back up when the recession right after ACA was passed? It’s not terribly unreasonable to guess that the law permanently changed the inflation rate.
Finally, CBO did not anticipate how narrow ACA plan provider networks would be, and provider network size is positively related to average premiums, all else equal.
Again, this is just another example of the law doing what it was supposed to be doing. Apparently, signals in the free market indicate that consumers would rather trade reduced provider networks in order to lower their premiums.
It’s uncertain what CBO assumed about ACA plan deductibles, but they are higher than many ACA advocates expected, and deductible size is inversely related to premiums, all else equal.
In other words, premiums are lower than what many ACA advocates expected. Posted by: Warren Porter at March 3, 2017 1:22 PM
Comment #414075

Biased ‘projections’ mean nothing, Warren.

Of course you find it “unconvincing”, it’s not the same kind of pro ACA puff piece your link is. I doubt that there is any link out there that will convince you that millions of us are paying more.

The ‘Average Premiums: Pre and Post ACA’ graphic at this link is more common around here:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/11/04/49-state-analysis-obamacare-to-increase-individual-market-premiums-by-avg-of-41-subsidies-flow-to-elderly/#464fec117f6b

My premiums and co-pays have never jumped this much before. The quality is just no longer there. Now they are saying there will be serious double digit increases this year and my employer is going to stop offering insurance.

And let’s be serious here, IF people had “a heavier wallet and better quality healthcare today because of Obamacare,” Hillary would be President right now.


Posted by: kctim at March 3, 2017 2:59 PM
Comment #414077
Biased ‘projections’ mean nothing

The question we are trying to answer is what were ACA proponents thinking when the bill became law 7 years ago. I do not think it is in dispute that ACA proponents believed that the future would resemble those CBO projections.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 3, 2017 3:47 PM
Comment #414079

Warren, the CBO reminds me of Man made global warming science…garbage in/garbage out.

“We now know that many of CBO’s projections of important aspects of the ACA have significantly differed from actual outcomes.”
https://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2017/01/02/learning-from-cbos-history-of-incorrect-obamacare-projections/#66dc4bf546a7

“Both sides express reverence for the “non-partisan” CBO, whose calculations are the “gold standard” of accuracy and integrity.

This elevated view of the CBO is wrong, not because the CBO is partisan or not immune to fudging. The CBO studies that I have examined use Keynesian models as the basis for all their calculations. If the CBO employed a non-Keynesian approach, its conclusions would be quite different.

News media and Democrat efforts to convince us of a Keynesian consensus distort the truth. There have been seven Nobel Prizes awarded to scholars whose work cast serious doubt on Keynesian economics. Not one Nobel Prize has been awarded to an economist who has advanced the Keynesian agenda.”
https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2012/02/02/are-cbo-estimates-really-the-gold-standard-of-accuracy/#73bfdeeeedaf

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 3, 2017 4:30 PM
Comment #414080

Anti-Trump Communist Arrested For Jewish Community Center Bomb Threats

Good work by FBI


Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2017/03/03/anti-trump-communist-arrested-for-jewish-community-center-bomb-threats/#ixzz4aIxwLaHT

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 3, 2017 5:34 PM
Comment #414094

Royal Flush,

We can debate the assumptions made in CBO models and their impact on the accuracy of projections another time.

What shouldn’t be in doubt is the fact that the CBO projections are a decent encapsulation of how Democrats expected the ACA to turn out when it was being debated 7 to 8 years ago.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 3, 2017 7:46 PM
Comment #414131

“The CBO studies that I have examined use Keynesian models as the basis for all their calculations. If the CBO employed a non-Keynesian approach, its conclusions would be quite different.”

Royal,

What are you talking about? What Keynesian assumptions distorted the CBO projections on the projected ACA premiums?

Posted by: Rich at March 4, 2017 7:01 PM
Comment #414151

Read the link Rich.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 5, 2017 2:51 PM
Comment #414191

“The question we are trying to answer is what were ACA proponents thinking when the bill became law 7 years ago.”

Warren, the reality that we are dealing with is that people lost their plan, lost their doctor, and have had their premiums and co-pays spike.
The rainbows and unicorns the democrats were thinking of 7 years ago, mean nothing.

Posted by: kctim at March 6, 2017 9:50 AM
Comment #414201

kctim,

Now you are changing the subject. WW challenged me to explain why, “The Democrats and Liberals out there need to change their model, because they are producing quite different outcomes to what they think should be occurring.”

There’s no disputing that the CBO projections represent what Democrats and Liberals in 2009 thought would be happening today. Considering the fact that costs did not rise any greater than the CBO projections, then it can be safely said that Democrats achieved the goals they set out in 2009 and that those goals did not include Americans paying “crazy more” for insurance.

Posted by: Warren Porter at March 6, 2017 3:58 PM
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