Republicans need to go on the offense on healthcare, suggest free market solutions

“The best defense is a good offense,??? runs an adage attributed to legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. What’s true in football is even more true in politics.

As the election marches through a long, hot summer, Republicans need to go on the offensive on medical care. Playing defense against the assaults by President Obama and his Democratic allies is the path to defeat. They’re going to use the President’s healthcare plan to attack Republicans, using the socialized medicine scheme as a wedge to pry a large gap between the GOP and seniors, young folks, the working middle class and others.

“We have to keep up the drumbeat with the American public,??? Sally Pipes told us. The president of the Pacific Research Institute is a noted expert on the politics and economics of medical care. Her book, “The Pipes Plan: The Top Ten Ways to Dismantle Obama-care,??? recently was published by Regnery Publishing, owned by the same company that owns Human Events, Eagle Publishing, Inc.

She added, “Republicans need to explain why the Obamacare legislation is bad for Americans’ health. They need to work for full repeal in 2013 if the GOP takes back the White House and the Senate, and keeps the House. Then, Republicans would replace it with the plan outlined in my book.???

Free market solutions

Among other things, her book discusses the impending bankruptcy of Medicare, the massive taxes needed to fund Obamacare, Medicaid waste in helping the poor, coverage mandates and the virtual enslavement of young people. The appealing solutions: Allow cheaper, high-deductible insurance plans, much as are available for vehicles; expand health-savings accounts; implement block-grant Medicare to states, so they can innovate at the local level; and give Medicare patients choices among plans. In short, give freedom back patients and promote competition.

On the state mandates, Pipes explained in a May 23 article in Investor’s Business Daily, “The Medicaid population in each state is different, so states should have the flexibility to determine their own eligibility requirements, benefit levels, and means of delivering care.??? People know their own states are different from others. Texas is different from California, Mississippi from Maine. So freeing the states is a winner.

We believe that just such a proactive strategy could help presumptive nominee Mitt Romney with a major weakness: his passage of the similar Romneycare program when he was governor of Massachusetts a decade ago. His Republican rivals in the GOP primaries roundly criticized him over Romneycare. But as he later said, the many debates sharpened his own candidacy and prepared him to face Barack Obama.

In this context, Republicans should play to their strengths. For example, they should say, “Let’s run medical care like Steve Jobs’ Apple instead of the DMV.??? That brings up in voters’ minds the world’s most admired and wealthiest company, contrasting it with people standing in long line and dealing with grumpy government DMV functionaries.

Republicans also should show how they would free young people from the Obamacare burdens. In 2008, candidate Obama appealed to youngsters’ boundless hopes for a better future. It contrasted with-let’s face it-Sen. John McCain’s rather curmudgeonly campaign.

A better model

A better model for the GOP is that of Ronald Reagan. The Gipper’s 1980 and ’84 campaigns promised limitless opportunity for those with ideas who worked hard. He turned hopes into reality as the computer and other fields blossomed under the Reagan Revolution.

Another thing to emphasize is that government bureaucrats, not doctors, will determine what kinds of coverage people get under Obamacare. That was a key factor on Aug. 3, 2010, when a whopping 71 percent of Missouri voters passed Measure C, which blocked Obamacare health-coverage mandates. The Show Me State showed that Americans don’t like being bossed around.

Republicans also should try putting such initiatives on the ballot in other states. Although in only 24 states can initiatives enact legislation, in the remaining states non-binding advisories could be put before voters. If Democratic-controlled legislatures block such efforts, the publicity still would benefit the anti-Obamacare cause. Republicans could respond, “Obamacare is so bad Democrats won’t even let us vote on it.???

To defeat Obamacare, more than just ideas are needed: Hard, hard work. The Democrats aren’t going to let up. Neither should Republicans. As Lombardi said, “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.???