The National Review's Rich Lowry pretends that House Republicans have anything new to offer other than the same tired policies they've been pushing for decades as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act.
March 23, 2014

Never mind that there is no so-called Republican alternative to Obamacare that has a chance in hell of actually being voted on in the House, or that would live up to the recent hype we're hearing from the right -- the National Review's Rich Lowry was allowed to make that very claim, unchallenged, on this Sunday's Meet the Press:

DAVID GREGORY: There is another big issue here domestically. We are now four years on to ObamaCare being passed. It was four years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. We know this is a big political issue, Rich. The issue is, are Americans better off or worse off with ObamaCare in their life?

RICH LOWRY: What we know, the law is not going to collapse on its own weight, which seemed a real possibility when the launch was so botched. But I think it's still pretty grim. If you believe the surveys of people who've signed up through the exchanges, most of them already had insurance, which suggest what you've basically done is a churn where you've knocked people off their old insurance, and then gotten them on the exchanges. So there's not much upside to that. At the same time, you've caused enormous disruption for millions of people. So I think this thing continues to be a substantive and a political--


DAVID GREGORY: Mayor, are you proud of this law?


MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER: I'm very proud of it and Rich, I wish you'd been with me yesterday. This is kind of a Philly-centric panel, but at Twelfth and Market yesterday, out with the folks from Get Covered and Enroll America, I walked up to people and asked them, "Do you have insurance?" The answer was no in many, many, many cases. And these are individuals who are now getting affordable health insurance. I've been to a number of these forms, $7, $18, $25 a month. Five million people have now signed up. So people want health care. I think the--


DAVID GREGORY: That is shy of what they said the goal was.

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER: I understand that--


MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER: You get as many people as you can, the deadline is the 31st. And folks should still continue to sign up. So if you didn't have health insurance, it's a great experience--

RICH LOWRY: That's a wonderful anecdotal.

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER: No, it's not anecdotal, it's real.

RICH LOWRY: It is. It's anecdotal.

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER: And that was yesterday afternoon.

RICH LOWRY: But are you aware of the surveys by consultancies and others that have actually asked people on the exchanges whether--

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER: No, I'm aware of talking to real people on real streets in Philadelphia.

RICH LOWRY: I know. So it's anecdotal. The surveys suggest that a lot of these people already had insurance. And the fact is there are now Republican alternatives that will probably cover more people than ObamaCare at a fraction of the cost, a fraction of the disruption, a fraction of the--


MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER: If the Republicans had spent more time not trying to undermine ObamaCare in 50-some odd votes and actually--

Here's more on their "new" plan from Joan McCarter: No, there's still no House Republican Obamacare replacement plan:

The word's getting out: Republicans are floundering on that whole "replace" thing when it comes to "repeal and replace" Obamacare. Politico:

Here’s the dirty secret about the House Republicans’ efforts to replace Obamacare: They haven’t even decided if they will hold a vote.

That's hardly a secret, but never mind.

Republicans aren’t even convinced they will find consensus on any specific set of new health care bills. The ideas they’re discussing—the ability to buy insurance across state lines, wider use of health savings accounts and cutting federal regulations—are the same principles they have kicked around since 2009. But the party is not much closer to finding a proposal—or set of proposals—that would garner enough Republican support to pass the House.

Not to mention, some of the policies the GOP is considering—including state-based high-risk pools—already exist and don’t work very well. Endorsement of these policies by the House Republican Conference could leave Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his leadership team open to heavy political fire from the White House and Hill Democrats.

There are no new viable, workable policy ideas among Republicans. All they can do is rehash the same old stuff they've been talking about for years. That's been clear since Republicans took the House and have been able to do nothing but vote on abortion, repeal, tax cuts to the rich and to shut the government down. That's been clear to anyone who has been paying attention for the last four years, except for the traditional media which is too vested in the idea that the Republicans are somehow a legitimate part of government.

We're told that Cantor has "committed the party to a vote and, behind the scenes, is driving House Republicans in that direction," but his deputy chief of staff admits, “Is it one bill? Is it a series of bills? Nothing has been really been discussed on that in any substance." Gee, could that be because there is no substance?

And from Jon Perr: House Republicans to Offer 20 Year Old Health Care Plan for Midterms:

Last week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan announced that his party would not offer a "singular alternative" to the Affordable Care Act. For good reason. Four years after they first declared they would "repeal and replace" Obamacare, the CBO concluded the most recent House GOP trial balloon would increase the national debt and cause 1 million workers to lose their insurance.

Nevertheless, the Washington Post reported Sunday "House Republican leaders are adopting an agreed-upon conservative approach to fixing the nation's health-care system, in part to draw an election-year contrast with President Obama's Affordable Care Act." But the GOP strategy is nothing new under the sun. After all, the Republicans' outline contains many provisions already included in the Affordable Care Act. And as it turns out, the House GOP is basically recycling the same health care proposal Republicans candidates have been running on since Bill Kristol first offered it as an alternative to Bill Clinton's plan two decades ago.

Credit: Perrspectives

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