Big-government Republicans show an appalling indifference to the disruptions.
During the summer of 2009, conservative activists turned up the heat on Democratic politicians to protest the innovation-destroying, liberty-usurping Obamacare mandate. In the summer of 2012, it’s squishy Republican politicians who deserve the grassroots flames.
In case you hadn’t heard, even if the Supreme Court overturns the progressives’ federal health-care juggernaut, prominent GOP leaders vow to preserve its most “popular” provisions. These big-government Republicans show appalling indifference to the dire market disruptions and culture of dependency that Obamacare would wreak.
Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, vice chairman of the Senate GOP Conference, told a St. Louis radio station two weeks ago that he supports keeping at least three Obamacare regulatory pillars: federally imposed coverage of “children” up to age 26 on their parents’ health-insurance policies (the infamous unfunded “slacker mandate”), federally mandated coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions (“guaranteed issue,” which leads to an adverse-selection death spiral), and closure of the coverage gap in the massive Bush-backed Medicare drug entitlement (the “doughnut-hole fix,” which will obliterate the program’s cost controls).
Some Republicans are even trying to out-Obama Obamacare. Representative Steve Stivers of Ohio is pushing a proposal to increase the mandatory coverage age for dependents to age 31. And Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, once a fire-breathing dragon for repeal, hem-hawed when asked by the liberal Talking Points Memo website whether Republicans would be introducing specific bills to preserve the guaranteed-issue and slacker-mandate provisions.
“Well, I think we need to be prepared,” Alexander told TPM. “And we will be prepared.”
How about getting informed? As I reported while the Obamacare backroom wheeling-dealing was going on, some 20 states already had passed legislation requiring insurers to cover adult children before the federal rule was imposed, and nearly 20 others were already on the expensive path toward doing so. In New Jersey, Wisconsin, and elsewhere, these top-down benefits mandates were among key factors driving up the cost of insurance and limiting access instead of expanding it.