It was disappointing to read today's front page New York Times review of their recent poll. Basically, it found that Americans are skeptical regarding Obama/Democrats health care plans. In fact, despite Obama's recent address to Congress and his appearance on five Sunday news shows this week, 55% of those surveyed feel he has not explained his plans for changing the health care system. Unfortunately, the same survey found that 76% felt Republicans in Congress have not clearly explained theirs. The Democrats and a compliant media have successfully portrayed the Republicans as the "Party of No". That is simply being in opposition to reform without any ideas of their own.
Actually, many Republican strategists and politicians have very clearly expressed well defined proposals. These have generally appeared in the Wall Street Journal, FOX News etc. Clearly these ideas have not reached the general public. I feel the best way to counteract this would be for all Republicans to articulate two to three of the following very well defined principles and challenge the Democrats to challenge why they are against them.
1. Malpractice Reform: Caps on non- economic damages have been successful in California for 35 years. Most recently, Texas demonstrated that malpractice reform very quickly leads to increased health care availability, lower premiums and greater competition. There is no need for "demonstration projects".
2. Tax breaks or credits for individuals buying health insurance: There is no reason for individuals not to have the same tax benefits that businesses do.
3. Allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines: If one can buy auto insurance in any state, why can't one purchase health insurance as well? Individual state mandates often require one to purchase coverage for such things as in vitro fertilization, chiropractic care, or even hair transplants. Obviously, many would choose to forgo these items in favor of cheaper policies. Nothing would increase the competition amongst the insurers ,something that Democrats supposedly favor,more than this.
The public best understands brief , well defined points. Republicans would be best served by simply asking why Democrats are opposed to malpractice reform that has not only clearly worked, but is also favored by the overwhelming majority of Americans. Why are they opposed to allowing individual tax breaks for health care coverage? Why are they opposed to allowing Americans to choose from any and all available policies throughout the country? In other words, make the Democrats the "Party of No".
- Paul Ratzker