The art of jiujitsu is to use an opponent’s weight and strength to your advantage. I believe we can further choke the life out of Obamacare by using this martial art technique. Let me explain.
Last week, I shared with you that while Republicans’ power to repeal Obamacare has been thwarted by the president’s re-election, all is not lost. Conservatives can still suffocate the federal monstrosity by supporting individual-to-state efforts to impede its funding and implementation.
I noted how, just two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a lower federal court to take up a lawsuit by the patriots at Liberty University, who claim Congress violated the college’s religious freedoms by forcing it to provide federally mandated insurance and requiring payment for abortion-related services.
Similarly, legal battles and federal courts blocked the Obama administration’s health intrusions into O’Brien Industrial Holdings (a Missouri mining company), as well as Tyndale (a Christian publisher) and the Christian-owned craft chain Hobby Lobby. All of these fine American institutions are being mandated by Obamacare to abandon their own consciences and core values about contraceptives.
And let us not forget that more than half of the states in our Union are suing the federal government over Obamacare. WND just reported that, for a second time, Republican Gov. Chris Christie “rejected legislation passed by New Jersey’s Democratic-controlled legislature that would have established a state-run health insurance exchange under Obamacare.”
As Avik Roy, a health care investment analyst and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, explains in his Forbes blog about health care and entitlement reform: “States are on firm policy ground in refusing to expand Medicaid, America’s worst health care program, because it will create severe fiscal vulnerabilities for the states. In addition, states are right to refuse to implement Obamacare’s exchanges, because the law gives states almost no flexibility in terms of how they build those exchanges.” (Insurance exchanges are a list of government-regulated and certified health care plans that are eligible for federal subsidies. Obamacare mandates that exchanges must be approved and active by Jan. 1, 2014.)
This past week, Doug Book from the Western Center for Journalism noted well how the hinge of Obamacare (indeed, its rigidity) pivots on more federal subsidies “designed to help low and middle-income individuals purchase health insurance.” But, according to the Affordable Care Act itself, the “subsidies may only be applied to insurance exchanges set up by individual states, not exchanges implemented by the federal government.”
Be wise and careful here!
Many believe state resistance is then the coup de grace of Obamacare, especially since 17 states have already refused to set up a state-run exchange by the federal government’s deadline. However, state resistance also provides another manipulative chess move by the Obama administration to bully, coerce and cast blame on the states and Republican governors in particular who refuse Obamacare.
Mark my words: If Obamacare continues on its present course, the president and his minions will blame states for denying affordable healthcare via subsidies and tax credits to citizens, “forcing Washington’s hand to implement the law of the land at unaffordable and higher-priced health care premiums.”
I pray Republican governors and other state officials don’t fall prey to this laden political folly and pressure. Rather, as sheep before wolves, they should be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves, especially when finely typed print among a hospital’s privacy disclosure statements (which patients are asked to sign) included the words that the treating medical facility may disclose your health information to federal officials “in order to protect the President, other officials or foreign heads of state.” So much for HIPAA privacy laws!
What state officials (and our conservative representatives in Washington) need to do is leverage (jiujitsu) Obamacare’s next chess moves and offer more fiscally responsible and freedom-loving alternatives or reforms, such as some version of Avik Roy’s “Obamacare jiujitsu” and his four-step solution to tackle the U.S. health care behemoth. It includes:
Step One: Replace or fix Obamacare’s exchanges.
It starts by improving the market orientation of Obamacare’s insurance exchanges. With the states’ pressure and even the leverage offered them via last summer’s Supreme Court decision, they and Republicans in Congress can reduce the excessive mandates, regulations and subsidies in Obamacare. Utah, for example, created a health care exchange that is far more palatable and market-oriented than the one offered through Obamacare.
Step Two: Migrate Medicare enrollees into the exchanges.
The next step would be to move Medicare patients into Obamacare’s (reformed) exchanges. Roy explains, “For example, Congress could agree to raise Medicare’s eligibility age by three months every year for the foreseeable future (and) transfer the ‘dual eligible’ population — seniors who are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid — onto the exchanges.” Roy adds, “In effect, over time, this would gradually introduce premium-support-style reforms into the retiree population, without requiring Congress to get bogged down in complicated reform legislation.”
Step Three: Let more people buy insurance on their own.
The third step would be that “Congress could consider reforms of Obamacare’s employer mandate — for example, exempting businesses with fewer than 200 employees or eliminating it entirely — so as to stimulate economic growth while improving the market for individually purchased health insurance.”
Step Four: Offer Medicaid patients a way out of that broken system.
The last step would be to “move the Medicaid population into the (reformed) exchanges. … Another approach could be to give Medicaid’s long-term care program back to the states, in exchange for federalizing Medicaid’s acute-care, pediatric and dual-eligible populations.”
As Roy concludes: “Conservatives have lost the battle to repeal Obamacare. But they haven’t yet lost the larger war against out-of-control health spending. The opportunity to seize the mantle of reform is theirs for the taking.”
When I think of Obama and Obamacare, I can’t help but think of the words of Rickson Gracie, retired Mixed Martial Arts World Champion and a member of the renowned Gracie family, who once said, “If size mattered, the elephant would be the king of the jungle.”
Let’s continue to fight and show Washington that we, the people, are the kings of the jungle.
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