The GOP needs to recover its credibility and repeal ObamaCare
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Congress returns from its August recess on Sept. 5 and it will have about 50 days in session to recover its credibility and deal a decisive blow to the Affordable Care Act.

The Senate and the House essentially put the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare on ice before they left on a not-very-well deserved vacation and we can only hope that the ice melted during the dog days of summer.

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There’s plenty of blame to share for the fiasco that evolved over the first seven months of 2017, and Senate GOP boss Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week GOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture MORE (R-Ky.) claims that the way ahead is unclear. But, I think that it’s pretty darn clear: either the Republicans in Congress keep their promises or there’ll be hell to pay come the mid-term elections. And, that does not bode well for the party or the nation.

 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Sanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' MORE (I-Vt.) has already begun to suggest, yet again, that single-payer, government-controlled healthcare is the only way out of the mess we are in. And, he’s got others, including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDebate over ICBMs: Will 'defund our defenses' be next? Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Hillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' MORE (D-Mass.) and Cory BookerCory BookerBush testifies before Congress about racist treatment Black birthing people face during childbirth, pregnancy Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Never underestimate Joe Biden MORE (D-N.J.) speaking out loudly in support of single-payer based healthcare.

Of course, Republicans can easily block any such move — at least for the time being. But they’ll just bide their time until they regain control of Congress and the White House or until the current Congress and White House put together an iron clad alternative.

We very recently got a glimpse of what a single-payer system has to offer when a British court insisted that an infant suffering from a rare brain disorder in a London hospital be denied the right to travel to the U.S. for treatment. Instead, the court demanded that doctors pull the plug on the baby’s life support system despite heart-rending pleas from the child’s parents to let them try to save him. This, even though the parents were prepared to pay the costs of a trip to New York for treatment so there would have been no cost to the British healthcare system.

The House did pass repeal and replace legislation and the Senate ultimately decided to push for what it called a “skinny repeal.” But that didn’t pass when Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainEx-McSally aide pleads guilty to stealing over 0K in campaign funds DOJ: Arizona recount could violate civil rights laws Cheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women MORE (R-Ariz.) cast a deciding vote against passage. McConnell now says that Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderThe Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - CDC news on gatherings a step toward normality MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySchumer 'exploring' passing immigration unilaterally if talks unravel Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap House passes bill to combat gender pay gap MORE (D-Wash.) are in negotiations to find a partial pathway out of the muddle.

Alexander, who is Chairman of the Senate's Healthcare Committee, and Murray, who is the ranking member, say they will hold hearings when they come back from the recess to seek a bipartisan solution. But, Alexander doesn’t sound very optimistic that a deal can be reached. He says that the Democrats are not interested in tampering in any way with ObamaCare.

All the Democrats want to do is throw more money at the problem. I don’t see why Congress doesn’t build a free-market solution around the notion of an expanded Health Savings Account (HSA) proposal. An expanded, tax-free HSA makes good sense and goes a long way toward keeping government out of doctor/patient relationships. There would also be less confusion among users who could have professional, independent agents to help them roll over insurance plans into their HSAs in a seamless manner. 

Under ObamaCare most people have co-pays and very high deductibles for medical services in addition to high premiums. Under an HSA-based solution, premiums could be paid through an individual’s tax free HSA.  In addition, it could provide for visits to local doctors with no additional costs and all deductibles would be paid with pre-tax dollars out of the savings portion of the HSA.

Low-income individuals and families would be covered under the HSA utilizing government subsidies. The difference between their coverage under ObamaCare and their coverage under the HSA is that they would not have any copays and they would have funds they can use for deductibles.

As for those who cannot even afford minimal coverage, such a plan could offer pro bono care under which doctors and nurse practitioners would provide healthcare services free of charge in exchange for tax deductions.

Dan Weber is the president of the Association of Mature American, which is a senior advocacy group that was set up as a conservative alternative to the AARP.


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