John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


There is No Shame in Repealing a Bad Law. (A Plan for Obamacare)

Posted on November 19, 2013
President ObamaThere is no shame in repealing a bad law.

In fact, when the federal government admits that a law is not working and does the right thing and gets rid of it, approval ratings for the Congress usually goes up.

The New York Times had a smart front-page story about the repeal of the catastrophic health care law in 1989.

In a bipartisan fashion, both Republicans and Democrats joined together and ditched a law that had been signed by President Reagan the year before.

In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Congress jointly repealed Volstead Act and the 18th Amendment banning the sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States.

It was a dumb amendment and a dumb law and the American people knew it didn’t work.

There was no need and no desire to replace either the catastrophic law or the 18th amendment.

Most Americans, according a new poll, don’t believe that the federal government should be running health care.

Their exposure to Obamacare has probably made them even less likely to get government involved in their health care decisions.

The New York Times editorialized against Republicans this morning, demanding that they present their own plan to replace Medicare.

Some Republicans have already completed that task.  In fact, Steve Scalise, the Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, got his merry band of conservatives to author such a replacement earlier this year.

But the truth is that Republicans top priority shouldn’t be to replace Obamacare.  Their top priority should be to repeal it.

And that will be difficult, because the ACA has already infiltrated so many parts of the health care industry already.

The health insurance industry, the Medical device industry, doctors, nurses, the pharmaceutical industry, and hospitals have had to make business assumptions about how the future will look under Obamacare.  Getting them to unassume those assumptions will be hard.

The first priority should be to tear out Obamacare root and branch.

And once that is done, then the Congress can get to the hard work of making the health care system more equitable, more efficient, more effective and less costly.

Certain principles should guide that discussion.

Humility is to top among them.  Obamacare was breathtaking in its scope.  It sought to change the behavior of every American, even those who play by the rules and have done nothing wrong.

Another principle is flexibility and the ability to give the marketplace a chance to adapt.  The Federal government shouldn’t dictate every solution, because in this ever-changing social media world, things change quickly.

Why can’t we have a law that simply fixes the problems, which is primarily is helping the uninsured get insurance?

Why do we have to have government give free contraception to all?  When did that become a campaign promise?

Why can’t we deal once and for all with the problem of out of control lawsuits that drive up costs unnecessarily?

Why can’t we give the states more discretion and more power to design their own programs while at the same time giving consumers more power to shop across state lines?

Why can’t we allow the small business community to band together and offer cheaper health insurance to their employees?

Democrats want to have the government run all of health care.  In fact, once Obamacare completely fails, Harry Reid wants the push for a single-payer system.

That’s what Republicans are competing against.

Obamacare was an overly complex, overly intrusive federal program.

Their next alternative will be a very simple, but even more overly intrusive federal program.

Both should be resisted.  But first Obamacare must be repealed.  After that task is completed, the Congress can get to work on some common-sense solutions that will fix the problems with creating even more problems.

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