Last Thursday, a who's who of the progressive movement met for a conference call organized by Families USA and hosted by the advocacy group for government-run health care, The Herndon Alliance. The Alliance's partners include AARP, AFL-CIO, SEIU, MoveOn and La Raza, among many others. Democratic pollsters John Anzalone, Celinda Lake and Stan Greenberg were the call's main event, and they were there to deliver some bad news. Politico reports:
"Democrats are acknowledging the failure of their predictions that the health care legislation would grow more popular after its passage, as its benefits became clear and rhetoric cooled. ... The presentation also concedes that the fiscal and economic arguments that were the White House's first and most aggressive sales pitch have essentially failed."
Health care is not the only issue where the left is retreating in the face of strong disapproval from the American people. Versionista, a Portland, Oregon-based company that tracks changes to the White House website, reported last week that the Obama administration had made "whole-cloth" changes to its "Energy & Environment" issues page. Out are any references to a cap on carbon emissions and a campaign pledge to spend $150 billion on clean energy technologies. In its place the new White House site includes a three-minute Earth Day-themed video from President Barack Obama. And across the country, leftist Senate candidates in Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana have all come out against President Obama's impending trillion dollar tax hike, due in January.
As satisfying as it is to see Obamacare's supporters come to terms with the failure of their grand plan, it is not enough for conservatives to just say "no." Conservatives must have real plans for reform if the American people choose to empower them. The Heritage Foundation's Solutions for America chapter on Getting Health Care Reform Right recommends:
Repeal Obamacare: There is a precedent for repealing highly unpopular and misguided laws: the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988. Recently, over 70% of Missouri residents rejected a key provision of Obamacare—the requirement that individuals purchase a health insurance plan designed and approved by government bureaucrats. The House of Representatives even voted recently to repeal one provision of Obamacare that will impose draconian paperwork requirements on millions of small businesses. The easiest way to address all these grievances: repeal Obamacare.
Promote Personal Control Through Tax Equity: Today, workers who purchase coverage through their employer receive an unlimited tax break on the value of their health care benefits. However, those who purchase coverage on their own receive no comparable tax break. Ideally, the current tax exclusion should be replaced (or at the very least capped) with a system of universal tax credits for taxpayers. Medicaid and SCHIP spending should also be redirected to help low-income individuals and families purchase private health insurance
Fix Current Government Health Programs: Medicare should be reformed into a defined-contribution system in which the government provides a contribution for benefits and seniors are able to apply their contribution to the health plan that suits them best.
Promote Federal–State Partnerships: A one-size-fits-all federal solution cannot accommodate the unique and diverse health care challenges facing the states. The federal government should promote interstate commerce in health insurance, extend certain protections for those who maintain continuous coverage, and provide states with technical assistance and relief from federal rules that inhibit innovation.
Provide Portability: Individuals—not the government—should be able to choose the health coverage that best suits their needs. To accomplish this, private health insurance must be portable—that is, owned by Americans so they can take their package from job to job.
There is no better symbol for the overreach of the progressive movement into the daily lives of all Americans than Obamacare. Repealing this intolerable act and replacing it with the foundations for a truly market-based health care system is one of the best ways conservatives can capitalize on liberalism's retreat.