What should Republicans do to ensure that this serious Democrat crisis doesn’t go to waste?

Epic fail
Rahm Emanuel famous said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  As of today, Avik Roy explains that the Obama administration is facing a serious crisis when it comes to Obamacare:

It’s hard to come up with new ways to describe the Obama administration’s improvisational approach to the Affordable Care Act’s troubled health insurance exchanges. But last night, the White House made its most consequential announcement yet. The administration will grant a “hardship exemption” from the law’s individual mandate, requiring the purchase of health insurance, to anyone who has had their prior coverage canceled and who “believes” that Obamacare’s offerings “are unaffordable.” These exemptions will substantially alter the architecture of the law’s insurance marketplaces. Insurers are at their wits’ end, trying to make sense of what to do next.

That’s just the intro.  In paragraph after paragraph, Roy details the disaster facing the administration as it makes up rules on the fly.  Like the hydra, every time the administration thinks its lopped off a problem, two or three more pop up in its place.

Presumably, when the dust settles and the private insurance market is destroyed, the Democrats will say, “See, we told you that the private market couldn’t be fixed.  It’s time to socialize our healthcare system.”  That will be their version of not letting a crisis go to waste.  It’s scary to think that Americans have been so brainwashed that it’s entirely possible that, rather than recoiling in horror and saying, “We will never let you brainless, tyrannical incompetents touch our healthcare again,” Americans will instead say, “D’Oh!  You’re right.  You’d better take over the whole thing.”

All of which is to say that Republicans and other conservatives ought to figure out ways to capitalize on this crisis too.  My instinct is that it’s best if Republicans in Congress don’t act.  After all, when your opponent is busy digging a deeper and deeper hole, you don’t throw them a rope ladder.  To the extent that Obamacare can never be made workable, Republicans would do well to keep their fingerprints off this disaster.  But that doesn’t mean they should keep silent.

So, what should Republicans say that will best enable them to capitalize on the Obamacare debacle, not just in the area of healthcare, but regarding Big Government itself?

And if that question is too easy for you, here’s a harder one:  Even though the media is disappointed with Obamacare, that doesn’t mean that its members won’t protect Obama and the Democrats to their dying breath.  They are the living embodiment of that hackneyed saying “Nobody gets to pick on my little brother except for me.”  How, then, should Republicans who are saying the right things make sure that the public hears what they have to say?

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Epic nuke.
    People can probably figure out what I mean when I say that.

  • Navy Bob

    I agree that Obama Care can never be made to work and if Republicans try to make it work they will be tagged with it’s failure.  But, they must come up with workable alternatives.   Take the new tax money raised by the Affordable Care Act and use that to supplement premiums for the “preexisting condition” crowd, allow and even promote catastrophic care policies for the young, allow policies to be purchased across state lines and have some national medical malpractice reform.  There are probably a few other points that need to be in there but make it simple and present it as an alternative. The people want to vote for something. 

  • Matt_SE

    I disagree. Republicans should be a vague as possible. Specificity will give the Dems a concrete target.
    If something *must* be said, simply repeal Obamacare to get back to the previous system, with the offer of allowing insurance to be bought across state lines.

  • http://bkivey.wordpress.com/ bkivey

    I wasn’t worried about Obamacare because I never intended to participate in it. My primary care physician accepts cash only. We have an arrangement. I’m standing on the sidelines watching this legislation destroy itself. I’m smiling because I know that if I’m called out by the IRS, I’ll just point to the many (illegal) wavers granted to interest groups.
    “Oh what a tangled web we weave . . . “

  • jj

    The solution is simple, takes two seconds, and should be obvious: take down the barriers between the states.  Why is that in Seattle you have four health care insurance companies to choose between, whereas down the road in Portland you have nineteen?  Washington’s ‘insurance commissioner’ only found four bribes acceptable, whereas Oregon’s has somewhat more relaxed standards?  Could that be it?  (This is government we’re talking about – could be.)  I have no idea, but those artificial barriers should be the first things to go, and every company that wishes to compete in a state – any state – should be able to do so.  There are over forty health insurance carriers in the US: all of them should be working in every state.
    It would, as I said, take congress two seconds to do that.  But the problem with the republicans in congress is the same as the problem with the democrats: they are such goddam creatures of government that they no longer have the ability to get their fat asses out of the way of the markets, and let them work.  It is the LAST thing that occurs to them, instead of the first.  And thus, the republicans, fat-assed and dim-witted, will be – and are! – passengers on the goddam train, instead of the solution to the wreck.

  • Wolf Howling

    An excellent set of questions, Book.  I’ve been pondering this for awhile.  This is the biggest opportunity conservatives have had to reshape government since the start of the “progressive” movement over a century ago.  Obamacare certainly needs to be the flag, but a whole host of other things need to ride the coattails.
    1.  Progressivism itself is what needs to be put on trial.  A social safety net was the great achievement of the progressive movement, but they achieved that decades ago.  What they want now is to expand the net into a permanent crib (think Pajama Boy). 
    Obama said the other day, about this law, “I only want to help people.”  So what helps people more, a thriving economy where they can find a job and climb the ladder of success, or a moribund economy where government sucks out the wealth to dole out small dollar amounts to the jobless?  Which is the better way to “help people?”
    Or to put it in terms of the parable, conservatives want the golden goose to thrive and put out enough golden eggs that everyone is lifted.  Progressives want to carve up the goose and give everyone a minute taste of scrambled eggs for as long as they last.
    2.  The problem with Obamacare is that attempts to reach its goals through grossly inefficient hidden taxes (e.g., I don’t need to be insured for lactation services or the day after pill; those starting out in life need their money to build their lives, have children, etc., not to be taxed enormously to fund health care for others) and severely contracting available health services.  Those are its foundational elements, and thus it can’t be fixed with bandaids.  It can only be repealed in toto.
    3.  Obamacare will suck a massive amount of wealth out of the economy in the coming years, much of it coming from the young and middle class who, one, can’t afford it, and two, are the primary purchasers in the economy.  Just as a reminder, earning power has declined almost 10% for the middle class already in the Obama economy, and 3/4’s of all the jobs lost under Obama have been replaced by minimum wage jobs.  Income inequality has grown under Obama – and it is going to grow much more between Obamacare and the EPA.  It is one thing to steal from the rich, they can only consume so much.  It is another entirely to steal from the masses.  This is going to get much worse in a year, and far worse in the years after that. 
    4.  The point has to be made that what existed prior to Obamacare was nothing even approaching free market capitalism in the health insurance industry.  
    Much more to say but have to run off . . . . will finish my comments later.   

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Obama doesn’t consider Republicans, or American patriots, humans. So when he says people… he doesn’t mean what you think he means.
    But that’s not new.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    To clarify, when have we ever been able to trust Obama’s words or the meaning behind them? They are never what people expect…
    By staking an a priori premise that the Left’s intent and goals are evil and destructive to humanity itself, I can make deductions and intuitive judgments based upon what they are doing. Most of it turns out to be right. But to make a different kind of judgment, taking the data of Leftist speeches and trying to reverse engineer them back to what they meant… that’s pretty much impossible to extremely difficult.
    The conservative or orthodox reaction to Obama helping people is to either agree or disagree that he is helping people. But if one were to operate from the philosophical a priori foundation, that is then a different reasoning. What we assume to be “people” are not humans or equals to the Left. What we think of as human people, are no more than vermin, insects, or livestock to the Left. Thus this turns the entire state around on its head, if you believe in the a priori assumptions.
    But regardless, nothing the Left says is plain, honest, or decodable. Was anyone confident enough to say that Obama will do a 180 on his “if you like it, you can keep it” refrain? It’s nothing new. When Obama opens his mouth, it’s either the obverse of the meaning most people think it is. Or it is a reverse. Or he’s talking about something completely different.

  • Navy Bob

    Sorry I must disagree with you. Republicans should not be vague, true enough, the dems will make the Republican proposals targets but the Republicans need to have something that the Undecideds can use as a reason to vote Republican. It is not enough to say the Affordable Care Act is no good, one must have something that the low information voter can support and have as a reason to vote Republican. We can’t go back to the previous system it no longer exists.  The Democratic attacks will only convince their base and there is no hope of getting their votes.  An attack on a new proposal can be met with “So Obama Care is what you support?”