Saturday, November 20, 2010

Put Up or Shut Up: How to Beat the Obamacare Repealers

Via Zandar, a piece of legislative fucking genius:

And that brings us to GOP Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who along with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, have come up with a wonderful plan to fix health care reform.

If the states can come up with better plans, let them. Ezra Klein explains:

This morning, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) introduced the “Empowering States to Innovate Act.” The legislation would allow states to develop their own health-care reform proposals that would preempt the federal government’s effort. If a state can think of a plan that covers as many people, with as comprehensive insurance, at as low a cost, without adding to the deficit, the state can get the money the federal government would’ve given it for health-care reform but be freed from the individual mandate, the exchanges, the insurance requirements, the subsidy scheme and pretty much everything else in the bill.

Wyden, with the help of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was able to build a version of this exemption into the original health-care reform bill, but for various reasons, was forced to accept a starting date of 2017 -- three years after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goes into effect. The Wyden/Brown legislation would allow states to propose their alternatives now and start implementing them in 2014, rather than wasting time and money setting up a federal structure that they don’t plan to use.

In general, giving the states a freer hand is an approach associated with conservatives. On Wednesday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) sent a letter to the Republican Governors Association advocating exactly that. “The most effective path to sustainable health care reform runs through the states, not Washington,” he wrote. If it’s really the case that the states can do health reform better, Wyden and Brown are giving them a chance to prove it.

Do this. This is brilliant, and something that I'd expect all 41 GOP Senators (and Mark Kirk when Illinois gets off their asses) to vote for. If your state can come up with a better plan than Obamacare, then prove it. We'll give you the money to do it.

And it gets even better.

Because the state most eager to prove that it does, indeed, have a better idea is not as you might imagine Texas, but Vermont. That's right: Howard Dean's own liberal, single-payer-loving Vermont.

Be still my lefty heart.

Read the whole thing.

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