Reminder 532,919,442: Republicans invented Obamacare.

Stories like this one from Ezra Klein today reminding everyone that Obamacare is made up mostly of Republican/conservative ideas, and not just old ones either, are the kind that need to be spread far and wide. Americans deserve to know the truth about what their government does, good and bad, so they can know who to rightly blame:

This, too, is a success for a longtime conservative health-policy idea. Insurance exchanges have been in every major Republican health-care bill since the early 1990s. They were in Paul Ryan’s 2009 health-care proposal. They’re the basis of the GOP’s plan for Medicare reform.

I have a small soap box so people mostly don’t see it, but I’ve been saying for years that most GOP criticism of Obamacare is insultingly stupid.

What Republicans want to do to Medicare is what Democrats just did with private insurance — give you “vouchers” or “subsidies” to go buy insurance on the private market. It’s the basis of Medicare Advantage, a program that ended up spending more than Medicare does and is generally considered a failure from what I understand.

If it really is a Democrats like it/Republicans hate it paradigm, then Republicans need to be made to understand that they are hating their own ideas:

* The insurance exchanges that mostly didn’t work (due to widespread private sector incompetence no less) on launch day were a Republican idea. They aren’t a “free market” idea, but they are inherently market-based, which is one of the reasons they weren’t the best idea on the table.

* The individual mandate to buy health insurance even if you don’t want it was a Republican idea based on the long-held belief in individual responsibility.

* Having people migrate away from the great insurance they get from employers to less great insurance they had to buy on their own was a favored Republican outcome, although not a goal, to control health care costs.

* Limited networks of doctors and care facilities was another favored Republican outcome to control costs.

* High deductible insurance plans was also Republican idea, they liked the idea of making people pay more so insurance companies could pay less.

All these ideas suck to one degree or another which is why Congress should have done single-payer instead, and if you agree, now you know who to blame for it.

What’s funny is that these ideas do work to some degree — the criticism is that there are better ways to accomplish these goals — and Republicans won’t be the ones that benefit politically from them working because they decided it was more important to block everything that Democrats try to do than to help Americans afford health care.

If Obamacare does ever end up failing, the factual record supports the argument that it was GOP ideas that failed, strengthening the argument for something truly liberal like single-payer (it’s only truly liberal in America, the rest of the world just calls it “health care”.)

Policy aside, only the modern Republican Party could craft such a lose/lose scenario for themselves like this. Their only saving grace so far has been that people just don’t know.

Paul Tenny

Paul Tenny

I'm not a journalist but I do it anyway. I cover elections and have interviewed television writers and producers.
Paul Tenny

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