Facebook is alive with discussion, all since SCOTUS upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). With so many ‘conservatives’ shocked at Chief Justice Roberts’ decision, everyone is scrambling to find solutions to repeal the ACA through other means.
While I support the State’s right to nullification, much like Governor Scott Walker from Wisconsin is proposing, and believe it is the most Constitutional, principled, and consistent approach of dealing with the ACA (and most other federal laws for that matter), many ‘conservatives’ are looking for federal solutions – and this leads them to look for federal leaders to save them.
Enter Mitt Romney
As a matter of political expediency, schizophrenia, or some ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment, Mitt Romney has decided to leave his individual-mandate-roots and is promising – if elected as POTUS – to repeal Obamacare. I suppose that SCOTUS has given Mr. Romney a present, in that the issue surrounding the ACA is no longer an “individual mandate” but merely a matter of “taxation” (regardless of what President Obama had to say about it). This way, Mr. Romney can distance Romneycare’s “mandate” from Obamacare’s “taxation” in ways that he hasn’t been able to before.
So, will Romney save us? ‘Conservatives’ seem to think so. In his response to SCOTUS’ decision, Mr. Romney stated,
What the Court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day – if elected President of the United States – and that is I will act to repeal Obamacare…
What Mr. Romney hasn’t said is how he is going to do this, as President, in a Constitutional manner. The President is not a legislator, and to repeal the ACA takes the legislature. What Mr. Romney has proposed is that “repealing” the ACA will come in the form of “waivers.” As the International Business Times reports,
To repeal the law, Romney would issue waivers exempting states from complying with certain provisions. The Affordable Care Act does contain a waiver requirement allowing states to craft their own health care proposals, but states would only be granted those exemptions if they came up with plans that guarantee as many people get high-quality coverage as would have been the case under the federal law.
Romney’s camp interprets the measure to give states broader flexibility. But whether a President Romney could in fact use state waivers to gut the Affordable Care Act (as Obama has done with the No Child Left Behind Law) will not matter on the campaign trail.
Let us not kid ourselves here, a President Romney is not going to repeal the ACA – because he can’t. He can do nothing of the sort! Beside the fact that we have to question how Romney will grant such waivers as President is a Constitutional question in itself, but, as per the ACA, the waivers merely force the States to come up with a seemingly better proposal for their state that at least purports better numbers than the ACA’s inflated stats.
Simply stated, Mr. Romney’s version of “repealing” the ACA is through “reforming” the ACA by utilizing the provisions within the ACA! Does this sound like “repeal”? Not at all! This does nothing to actually repeal the law itself — only to reform the ACA within the bounds predetermined by the ACA. Therefore, Romney’s rhetoric falls flat and is disingenuous.
What Will Actually Happen? REFORM, NOT REPEAL
In the same speech where he mentioned consistently of repealing Obamacare, Mr. Romney’s solutions were all proposed as methods of reform. You don’t have to reform what you’re repealing. To reform means that you keep the law or mechanism in place and you change what already exists. To repeal means that you scrap the whole thing entirely and start over.
In our political and social climate, there is no repealing anything without substituting anything in its place. It’s true, health care is a broken system in America, and, regardless whether President Romney and a GOP legislature repeal the ACA out of existence, something has to happen – anything less constitutes political suicide, and these are not men or women who can stand on principle against perceived political suicide.
If the GOP regains the Legislature and the Presidency (heaven forbid; nothing good comes from one party controlling everything), then the GOP will be pressed to present a suitable plan for the one they are repealing. With Romney’s background in the individual mandate (legally forced responsibility that constitutes bigger government, all in the name of “personal accountability”), what solution(s) will he really promote that are better than the ACA is almost an insurmountable hurdle. Romney has no public-policy background that does not require larger government, and even if the GOP could come up with a different solution we are naïve to believe it will come with less government.
We cannot trust a President Romney or his ilk to solve the Obamacare mess with a reduction of government intrusion into the free market (the real solution), because deregulating and returning to the free market requires the consistent and actual repealing of laws with no substitution – and that is not what the DEMS or the GOP are about. For them, they have to substitute, and that substitution constitutes different and more legislation and regulation – not less.
It is irrational to believe that the ACA will be repealed. It won’t. A President Romney and a GOP Legislature will, at best, reform what is already there. This is, after all, Mr. Romney’s stated plan: to utilize the provisions within the ACA to “reform” it – not abolish it. Mr. Romney’s rhetoric of “repeal” is an election year gimmick, and anyone who takes even a real second glance at the situation will realize that repeal is not an option.
The GOP reform will probably keep the mandate/tax in place (as well as the forced provision for insurance companies to accept preexisting conditions), while it works in other areas to make the ACA appear more “business friendly” and socially palatable. This will not constitute real reform, but it will build enough of a façade that the American people will be snow-jobbed into believing that their ‘conservative’ leaders actually did something.
The ACA is here to stay.