The GOP Could Have Prevented ObamaCare

by Sal on April 8, 2010

in Health Care,Politics

There’s a debate going on in the blogosphere on whether or not the GOP could have prevented ObamaCare by preempting it with its own health care reform when it had power.  Consider this:  health care reform was a major issue in the 1992 campaign.  After the GOP gained power, they could have pushed more conservative, market-based reforms that would have fixed the system, thereby taking the wind out of the sails of the Democrats who played on the high costs of health care to garner what little support they ended up having for the plan.

I tend to think there’s a lot of validity to this argument.  I fall along the lines of Ed Morrissey and Patrick Ruffini in arguing that solving the problem typically removes the argument.  If the GOP had addressed the problem in the 1990s or when George W. Bush was at the height of his popularity, this monstrosity may have been averted.  Instead, we are left with socialized medicine.

Karl of Patterico’s Pontifications argues that the GOP would have had an equally difficult time passing their own version of the bill as the Democrats did, and the GOP never enjoyed the majority that the Democrats did.  I disagree with this premise, because it assumes that the GOP’s proposals would have been as unpopular as ObamaCare.  This is a faulty premise, because the reason that ObamaCare is wildly unpopular is that it is a socialist health care plan, and most Americans do not like socialism.

The GOP could have pushed incremental market-based reforms that would have alleviated the need for any kind of sweeping Democrat health care reform, but they didn’t .  The GOP has basically ignored the issue of health care since Clinton tried to pass HillaryCare in 1993-1994, with the exception of Medicare Part D (a big-government approach) and a few other minor incremental changes (Health Savings Accounts, Medicare Advantage, etc.).  Thus, the GOP blew it.  They ignored the issue for over a decade while the cost of health care continued to rise, leading to an environment where the Democrats could begin their push for socialized medicine.

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