How to Talk about Healthcare

If and when it comes time to actually repeal and replace Obamacare, there will be a challenge – how to actually go through the difficult process of making that change? Being a conservative reformer takes a lot more than just being a reactionary saying “No”. Often Liberals will acknowledge some flaws in Obamacare but then retort “But what would you do?” and then declare either that Republicans have no ideas (false) or pre-declare any alternative vastly inferior (a matter of opinion of course) and state ‘Obamacare is at least moving us in the right direction’. The knee-jerk conservative response is to give a laundry list of conservative policies that we would support. For example, “Buy insurance across state lines. Tort reform. high-deductible insurance options. etc.”
This is the wrong approach.  That invitation and challenge to define specifics is something that liberalism itself never concerns itself with. It’s actually BAD politics to propose specifics. If you notice WAS ANY DETAIL OF OBAMACARE DISCUSSED PRIOR TO 2009? Nope. Not really. It was all hopey-changey stuff. What was it exactly? It was purpos. The liberal’s ‘purpose’ is a simple proposition: “Everyone should get healthcare.”  Never mind that the implementation of that by socialists operates like a sledgehammer on tomatoes. It is blunt, brutal and with much unintended consequences.  We need

We need to talk not policies but PRINCIPLES and PURPOSE. In reality, people are not convinced and don’t care about the details, but do care that our healthcare policies follow the principles that match their values. So what principles and purpose should we be putting forward as the alternative to Obamacare? Let me suggest the core principles:

Healthcare FREEDOM – Individuals and families should get to choose their healthcare – their insurance, their  doctor; there must be no mandates and rules that violate your conscience or prevent you from making the choices you wish.

Healthcare INNOVATION – Government should let innovators innovate to improve healthcare and lower costs; Govt acts in a way to not stifle innovation and support making it better with technology advances.

Healthcare EFFICIENCY – The system as a whole is as cost-effective as possible, and costs are lower while outcomes are better. We get that through choice, competition, and avoiding too much 3rd party payer situations.

Healthcare SECURITY – There should be healthcare for those in need, and through cost-efficiency healthcare and insurance should be as affordable as possible to all Americans.

We can campaign and focus on the principles and say: “We support Obamacare repeal because it violates these principles, and we will work to get a system in place that meets these principles.” We would find a lot of agreement from liberals, and moderates. These above principles are the kinds of things that Newt Gingrich would talk about being 70% issues; items that 70% of Americans would agree with (frankly, anyone in America who is not dead-set on single-payer socialist medicine but believes in some safety net could agree to all 4, and even liberals would agree to 3 of the 4.)

We need to talk principles and purpose, rather than the details that get picked apart. Doing so enables us to get consensus to move forward together before we get picked apart by nitpicks.  Obamacare violates the first three principles and we can outline exactly how: It raises costs; it stifles innovation; it denies healthcare freedom.  Those principles lead to policies that would propose reconsidering the community rating and insurance mandates regarding pre-existing conditions, and replace that with programs to subsidize those with pre-existing conditions in need of support to get coverage for that.