by Laurence M. Vance
Campaign for Liberty
One of the Republicans' main selling points in the congressional elections this year is their promise to repeal the Democratic health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The fact that they didn't repeal anything after they gained control of the Congress in the 1994 election is a long-forgotten thing to most Americans. And no one salivating to vote Republican in the upcoming election seems to remember that nothing was repealed during the Bush years either – even when Republicans controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress.
The simple truth is that once in power Republicans not only never reverse the legislative damage done by Democrats, they add to it.
Although I applaud any attempt by anyone in any party to repeal the monstrosity that is Obamacare, Republican hypocrisy on this issue is equally as reprehensible.
Republicans are good at opposing socialized medicine when it is Hillarycare or Obamacare, but not very good when it is Bushcare or Republicancare.
The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) provides federally-funded health insurance to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid. It was created by a Republican-controlled Congress in 1997. Opposition to the program was slight, and negligible when it was up for reauthorization under President Bush. It is only under the Obama administration that some Republicans have suddenly voiced opposition to this income transfer program.
Then there is the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act. This was instituted by a Republican-controlled Congress in 2003 and signed into law by a Republican president. This expansion of the welfare state was opposed by Democrats in far greater numbers than SCHIP was ever opposed by any Republicans. The overwhelming majority of Republicans in the House and Senate now who were also in Congress in 2003 voted for the Republican version of health care reform even though they opposed Obamacare and now call for its repeal.
And who can forget the rationing and criminalization of over-the-counter allergy-relief products like Sudafed because they contain pseudoephedrine. This is due to the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, which is title VII of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005. The justification for this ridiculous legislation is that pseudoephedrine may be used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine. This is ultimately due to the liberty-depriving, life-destroying war on drugs, which was instituted by a Republican president, Nixon, who boldly claimed that within five years he would "stamp out drugs and declare the war won." The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act imposes tremendous restrictions on buyers and merchants. Yet, it was passed overwhelmingly by a Republican-controlled Congress (unanimously in the Senate) and signed into law by a Republican president.
In the recent Republican "Pledge to America," there are two more examples of Republican hypocrisy on Obamacare.
The House Republican plan in their Pledge "to repeal the job killing health care law and put in place real reform" includes this surprising statement:
Health care should be accessible for all, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses. We will expand state high-risk pools, reinsurance programs and reduce the cost of coverage. We will make it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, eliminate annual and lifetime spending caps, and prevent insurers from dropping your coverage just because you get sick.
This sounds like something from the DNC. Since when does "real reform" by those who call Obamacare socialism include such massive government intervention in the market?
Senate Republicans are just as bad. Former GOP senator and medical doctor Bill Frist, after railing against President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Reid, and House Speaker Pelosi for not believing in "markets, incentives and the power of hundreds of millions of people to make smart choices about their health," shows that he doesn't believe in markets, incentives, and individual power either when he also says he favors "the elimination of pre-existing conditions as exclusionary criteria for health insurance." And yes, this is the same Bill Frist who supported the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act when he was in the Senate.
There is no greater example of medical socialism than Medicare. Yet, in the "Pledge to America," Republicans, no doubt to get the votes of seniors, propose to "support Medicare for seniors," and "protect our entitlement programs for today's seniors and future generations." The Republicans even criticize Obamacare for cutting Medicare and forcing millions of seniors "off their current Medicare coverage." But I thought Republicans were against welfare, income transfer programs, and government interference in the marketplace?
Despite their libertarian rhetoric when the Democrats are in power, Republicans don't support a free market in medical care, medical treatment, medical devices, medical drugs, medical licensing, medical education, medical insurance, medical facilities, medical records, medical research, or alternative medicine.
Democrats, liberals, progressives, socialists, moderates, and yes, Republicans and conservatives – they are all peas in the same pod. It is loyalty to an uncompromising philosophy of liberty instead of to a movement or party or pledge that is the first step toward "fixing" health care.
Reprinted with permission from Campaign for Liberty.