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Jindal Challenges Cruz to Health Care Reform Debate

Jindal Challenges Cruz to Health Care Reform Debate

Touts his comprehensive plan to replace ObamaCare

One of the primary obstacles to repealing the failure that is ObamaCare has been the extremely successful framing of the debate by progressives on both sides of the aisle.  The question they posit and that derails any and all attempts to rid the American people of the ObamaCare albatross that is disproportionately strangling the poor and the middle class in myriad ways is:  What will you replace it with?

This is a false choice.  No one called for a replacement of the 18th Amendment that made Prohibition not just the law of the land but a part of the U. S. Constitution.  ObamaCare is bad law.  You don’t “replace” bad law, you get rid of it.

Framing the argument as “repeal and replace” implies “if not ObamaCare then what other behemoth federal monstrosity should take its place?” and as such is a clever maneuver by ObamaCare defenders because it effectively posits that there are only two options:  ObamaCare or something just like it, i.e. another federally-mandated and -controlled health insurance system that does everything that is popular about ObamaCare and nothing that is controversial or unpopular about it.

Since 2010, Republicans have won a vast number of state and federal seats running on the repeal of ObamaCare, and most of these election conservatives (to use Ted Cruz’s term) have demurred once elected because it’s hard, they don’t have an effective or viable “replacement,” and / or they actually support ObamaCare or have accepted it as a permanent fixture.   Or all of the above.

When conservative candidates call for the repeal of ObamaCare and don’t have a detailed “replacement” plan, they are called out not just by the progressive left and the media but by other conservatives.  We saw an example of this by Bobby Jindal this week when he challenged Ted Cruz to a debate about ObamaCare.

The Washington Post reports:

Jindal said he’d like his debate with Cruz, if it ever happened, to focus on their plans for replacing President Obama’s health-care law. He also questioned the significance of Cruz’s efforts in 2013 to shut down the government.

“You get Ted Cruz who wants to shut down the government, but he’s never even come up with his own plan,” Jindal said. “We’ve written our own plan and campaigned on it, rather than just complaining about Obamacare.”

Both Cruz and Jindal will be in Wisconsin on Tuesday to participate in Fox Business Network debates. Cruz will be on the main stage, Jindal in the “undercard” debate.

Jindal does indeed have his own plan to replace ObamaCare.  His website touts it as a “comprehensive plan” based on “conservative principles” (emphasis in the original):

In 2014, I outlined a plan with America Next, the conservative policy group I founded to go on offense in the war of ideas. This plan would repeal Obamacare and start over with a new plan based on conservative principles.

While repealing Obamacare is a popular line amongst Republicans running for President, I’m the only one with a comprehensive plan to actually do it.

And comprehensive it is, including tax incentives attached to Health Savings Accounts, to the purchase of health insurance, and to “wellness”; a $100 billion taxpayer-funded “innovation pool” to cover preexisting conditions; some kind of government arm that will oversee “transparency” in medical pricing and quality of health care; and Medicaid expansion (giving states more flexibility than under ObamaCare).

Jindal’s plan also includes allowing for the purchase of insurance across state lines and tort reform.  He also mentions religious conscience, so it’s not clear if his plan will keep the sorts of coverage mandates that make the issue of religious liberty such a serious problem with ObamaCare.

Watch Jindal discuss health care reform on Special Report’s “Center Seat”:

https://youtu.be/bXjhSF9jWgs?t=5m51s

He’s right.  He has a plan, and it is comprehensive.  So let’s look at Jindal’s statement that Cruz has not provided a “replacement’ for ObamaCare; Jindal’s right about that, too.  What Cruz does offer, however, is a framework that entails extracting the federal government from the health care insurance market and rolling back onerous federal laws and regulations that hinder access and affordability.

In March of this year, Cruz proposed the Health Care Choice Act that effectively repealed the foundations of ObamaCare and provided for the purchase of health insurance across state lines.

From Cruz’s Senate website:

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today introduced the Health Care Choice Act, which would remove Obamacare’s costly insurance mandates and allow residents in one state the option to purchase a health insurance plan of their choice in any other state. The bill is cosponsored by Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and David Vitter (R-LA). Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 543.

“Every last word of Obamacare must be repealed,” said Sen. Cruz. “And while we continue that fight, we must also send bill after bill to the President’s desk to stop its harmful effects. The Health Care Choice Act will reduce costs, force insurers to compete for business and empower consumers to choose a health plan that meets their needs.

“The Administration has done absolutely nothing to prepare for an upcoming Supreme Court decision that could leave millions of Americans unable to afford insurance thanks to this failed law. Republicans must offer the American people alternatives that lower costs and break the status quo that favors big government and big health care business over hardworking Americans. The Health Care Choice Act is one step in that direction.

“This bill is a true market-based reform that will make health insurance more personal and affordable, giving consumers the freedom to select plans that fit their needs, anywhere from Alaska to Texas to Vermont.”

Needless to say, this didn’t get any traction in the Senate, but it does provide insight into Cruz’s ideas for health care reform and his vision of the role of the federal government in these reforms.

When speaking about needed health care reforms, Cruz is adamant that the answers are in removing the federal government from health care as much as possible by first repealing “every single word of ObamaCare.”  He outlines three key minimalist approaches that overlap with some of Jindal’s ideas:  allow people to buy insurance across state lines, expand Health Savings Accounts (including tax incentives), de-link health insurance from employment.

Watch:

Both candidates have the same goal in terms of repealing ObamaCare, and they share many of the same ideas and solutions.  A debate between the two on health care reform is unlikely to happen, but it would be interesting to see how each distinguishes himself from the other candidate.

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Comments

Jindal couldn’t be interesting–or out debate Cruz–if his life depended on it. His speeches drone on from one cliche to the next.

cantor4massat4 | November 8, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Jindal has quite the background, education, and resume. But he’s jealous of Cruz and he’s being stupid for how smart he is. He was taunting Cruz on Twitter when Trump came out with his health plan. I guess he doesn’t like the fact that Cruz has not said anything against Trump. He’s proving that you can be really smart and act really dumb.

Obamacare will not be repealed. It is power that the federal government has seized, and neither party is willing to release that power, hence the discussion of what to put in its place.

    murkyv in reply to windbag. | November 8, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Word is, Harry and Nancy now want to repeal the “Cadillac Tax” part of O’Care due to go into effect in 2018 because the labor unions have finally realized that it’s going to hit a lot of their members.

      Avraham in reply to murkyv. | November 8, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      With the caveat that I’m a P&C actuary and not life & health, that’s just another indication that Obama et al are lacking in a fundamental understanding of insurance.

      In a nutshell, insurance works by pooling risk. Any one person has no idea if G-d forbid they will need healthcare, but if you put 100 million people in the pool, in general, you can have a very good idea about the aggregate cost of said healthcare. So the insurance company charges more than the expected value (they have to, otherwise they are guaranteed to eventually go bust in an outlier year—basic ruin theory), and if the “spread cost” amongst each member, while more than the statistical expected value, is still low enough that they would rather certainly pay that cost instead of likely paying nothing but possibly paying an enormous amount, you have a viable insurance market.

      What the current administration has done appears to be to set the initial premiums and expected costs per user using a very large pool, which included large numbers of healthy people, so the average cost per person was low, but started stripping either people (changes to employer mandate, IIRC) or funds (if murkyv is correct) leaving the same costs to be borne by fewer people. The actuarially sound premiums per person are of course going to have to rise—a simple case of static numerator and shrinking denominator.

      It’s like they can’t even get socialism right.

This is a false choice. No one called for a replacement of the 18th Amendment that made Prohibition not just the law of the land but a part of the U. S. Constitution. ObamaCare is bad law. You don’t “replace” bad law, you get rid of it.

Bad analogy. Prohibition wasn’t doing anything for anyone, so there was no need to replace it with anything but freedom. But 0bamacare is providing health insurance to a lot of people who can’t go back to their old insurance because it no longer exists.

A better analogy is those states that have a chain of state-run liquor stores with a legal monopoly; if someone were to propose closing these stores they would have to propose some viable replacement, preferably in the form of legalizing the private sale of alcohol, and changing whatever zoning laws might prevent private liquor stores from opening. Without such a replacement, most people would live under effective prohibition, which is worse than the monopoly.

A replacement for 0bamacare doesn’t have to be a behemoth, and Jindal’s proposal isn’t one, but it will require some massive federal intervention simply to undo the damage that 0bamacare and previous federal interference have wrought.

    The way it is posited by the left (and many on the right) is that it must be a behemoth; indeed, the implication is that any replacement should meet the goals of ObamaCare, not the actual outcome. Remember, this all started because a very small percentage of Americans did not have health insurance. The idea was that we should disrupt a system that covered 253.4 Americans to ensure universal coverage. We don’t have universal coverage under ObamaCare, and never will. Given the billions this boondoggle disaster has already cost, we’d have been better off just paying outright for the 30 million or so to buy health insurance on the open market.

    Instead, we got from ObamaCare a government-mandated shortened work week (30 hours), millions now working only part-time and with no access to health insurance except through ObamaCare as a result, people paying enormous and soon-to-increase premiums with unaffordable deductibles and minimums, exploding substandard Medicaid that is draining medical resources of every kind (and that states who took the federal money won’t be able to afford when that money dries up–as it must under the ACA), and countless people buying policies that they neither want nor need. Add to this the takeover of the student loan industry that was included in the ACA, along with numerous taxes and fees built right in, and I think we’d all be better off without it. That said, anyone losing health insurance would be granted either tax credits or a subsidy in every single GOP alternative I’ve read.

    Thankfully, ObamaCare did not wipe out the health insurance industry, so getting rid of it would mean nothing more than going back to the (admittedly flawed) system that was in place to begin with. From there, we can address very real concerns about health care (not insurance–another fallacy the Obots trot out. Health insurance is not health care any more than car insurance is car maintenance and body work). There were problems with our health care system, no one that I’m aware of has denied this. The answer was not ObamaCare.

    Your statement that the government screwed it up and should fix it is chilling. The feds set out to “fix” poverty, we get more of it. The feds set out to “fix” K-12 education, we get decreased scores and lag behind almost every developed country in almost every category. The fed set out to “fix” the drug problem, we get an endless war on drugs that has resulted in more addicts and lawlessness.

    When the government screws something up that is not under its Constitutional purview, it needs to get out of the way.

      the implication is that any replacement should meet the goals of ObamaCare, not the actual outcome

      Any replacement should at least be an improvement on what we had before 0bamacare.

      Instead, we got from ObamaCare a government-mandated shortened work week (30 hours), millions now working only part-time and with no access to health insurance except through ObamaCare as a result, people paying enormous and soon-to-increase premiums with unaffordable deductibles and minimums, exploding substandard Medicaid that is draining medical resources of every kind (and that states who took the federal money won’t be able to afford when that money dries up–as it must under the ACA), and countless people buying policies that they neither want nor need.

      Exactly, so how can we now just walk away and wash our hands of it? We’ve wrecked people’s old insurance system, how can we now leave them with nothing? That’s like picking up a hitchhiker and then dumping them in the middle of nowhere. Once you picked them up you’ve assumed the obligation to take them somewhere safe.

      That said, anyone losing health insurance would be granted either tax credits or a subsidy in every single GOP alternative I’ve read.

      Well, that’s a federal intervention right there. But more is needed; many people can’t go back to their old policies, because they no longer exist. And there’s no question that the old system was broken, largely because of decades of federal interference, and needed replacing.

      My preference would be for legislation to 1) make the cost of health insurance deductible from individuals’ income; 2) make the cost of health insurance provided to employees not deductible from corporate income; 3) convert, by legislative fiat, all existing employment-based group policies into individual policies at the same rates; 4) allow anyone who had health insurance before ACA passed, and has since lost it, to buy a similar policy from the same provider; 5) once someone has a policy, so long as they keep paying the premiums the provider must keep renewing it. 6) make it legal to buy any policy on offer anywhere.

        Milhouse, I’m quite sure that the private insurance industry would be more than happy to recreate policies that “don’t exist” anymore because ObamaCare outlawed them. It’s not like they’d sit around and do nothing if they were free to once again issue policies that people want. There’d be a need, and the health insurance market would meet it. In a flash.

        That said, no one is arguing that an ObamaCare repeal wouldn’t entail a transition period to help those who lose their coverage find something else. This is more than ObamaCare provided . . . people were sent cancellation notices out of the blue. The internet was abuzz with the shock that people felt (not that the media reported it).

        There is no downside to getting rid of ObamaCare in its entirety. None.

These clowns still think that people want a “replacement” for ZeroCare instead of getting the gov’t out of the market the gov’t screwed up.

    Milhouse in reply to gwsjr425. | November 9, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    They’re right. People do want a replacement, because they need one. Simply getting the government out of the market after it’s destroyed it will not work. The government broke the market, so it’s the government’s responsiblity to fix it.

Jindal should just get out of the race already. He has no traction and Cruz is by far the better candidate.

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