Romney/Ryan ready to repeal Obamacare

Watching the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan campaign this past week has been almost a surreal experience.  Imagine – two passionate, articulate Republicans taking the fight directly to their opponents and demolishing the Democrats’ emotion-laced memes with simple, direct arguments.   The last time we saw anything like this was 1980, and George H. W. Bush was no Paul Ryan.

Romney’s selection of Ryan should quell any doubts about the primary goal of his administration — getting the US economy back on track.  And this week, we saw a plentiful amount of evidence suggesting that the top agenda item in his economic recovery plan is the repeal of Obamacare.

Conservatives have been debating how to go about repealing Obamacare for over two years now.  Throughout numerous discussions, two goals remained clear: 1) voters must understand that, while Obamacare promises a lot of benefits, it is built on a financial house of cards that rests largely on the defunding of Medicare combined with huge tax increases; and 2) Republicans must put forth a plan that provides needed reforms without raiding the Medicare trust or inflicting a “Taxmageddon” on the American people.

And incredibly, the Romney campaign seems to have figured out how to make this work, using an interesting mixture of strategies from Sun Tsu (“The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won”) and Saul Alinsky (“Make the enemy play by his own book of rules”).

Predictably, the Democrat response to the Ryan pick was “OMG!!! He wants to CUT MEDICARE!!!  He wants to END MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT!!!”  To which the Republicans have simply replied, “What about the $700 billion that Obamacare raids from Medicare?  What about Obamacare’s termination of Medicare Advantage?  What about Obamacare’s  new Independent Medicare Advisory Board?  Why was Obama’s dismantling of Medicare okay, while Ryan’s proposed reforms are the most evil plan ever?”

I don’t think the Democrats ever expected such a straightforward attack from the Republicans.  For two and a half years, they and their willing accomplices in the Media/Entertainment complex have successfully avoided any discussion of the financial and regulatory aspects of Obamacare.  Last weekend, Howard Dean told ABC News This Week, “You can’t convince people that a Democrat is going to cut Medicare.”  And he seriously believes it.

But by bringing up Ryan’s “Medicare cuts” the Democrats have committed a serious unforced error, and now that Republicans have demonstrated that Obamacare also “ends Medicare as we know it”, they are struggling to justify the silliness of their textbook attack rhetoric.  The embarrassing on-air performances of Democratic party mouthpieces Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rachel Maddow demonstrate just how completely unprepared the Democrats are, when their orthodoxy is directly challenged.

I also believe the Democrats’ over-reliance on “Medi-scare” tactics is fatally flawed for yet another reason, which is a false belief that senior citizens are greedy and will dump anyone else in order to save themselves.  It is absolutely true that seniors depend heavily on Medicare and Social Security, and (rightly) feel that after paying into the system all their working lives, they are owed benefits from these two programs.  But senior citizens also have families — children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.  The Baby Boomer, Gen X, and Millenial children and grandchildren of today’s seniors have also payed into Social Security and Medicare all their working lives.  Likewise, they are entitled to the same benefits as their parents.  And those senior-aged parents want to keep their children’s futures financially secure.

Anyone paying attention to the current crises involving Medicare and Social Security knows that without reforms, these programs will implode right when Gen X’ers like myself reach retirement age.  Therefore, I believe that we will start seeing a surprising amount of support among senior citizens for real Social Security and Medicare reform, because those reforms will protect the financial security not only of senior citizens, but of the children and grandchildren that they care very deeply about.

Once Americans begin to understand the extent of the Medicare cuts hidden in the Affordable Care Act, there is a good chance that they will begin to ask more questions about what is really in the bill.  When that happens, the Romney campaign should already have their script ready — massive tax hikes, $1.5 trillion in new spending, further intrusion of the IRS into personal and business finances, 15 million still without insurance, over 1200 exemption waivers mostly for special interests such as labor unions, etc.  Once a discussion of these issues is forced by the Romney camp, the American people are going to be very unhappy with the answers.

And that leaves the Democrats stuck between a rock and a hard place.  They can only attack so many times before voters start to ask, “Okay let’s see your plan.”  The Democrats don’t have a financially solvent plan for reforming the funding mechanisms of Medicare and Social Security.  They never have.  They also lack any kind of a backup plan to shore up Obamacare in the event that another one of its major parts fails financially.  Already, the Class Act (the long-term health insurance plan that was one of the main pillars of Obamacare’s benefits package) has been terminated because it was financially unsustainable.

This leaves Republicans with the responsibility of presenting a set of straight-forward, easy to understand plans for repealing Obamacare (while preserving its worthwhile benefits, such as guaranteed insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions), replacing it with a set of health care reforms that actually work, and easing the enormous financial and regulatory burden that the Obama Administration has placed on the American economy.  And there is no one better than Paul Ryan to be the spokesman for those plans.

Personally I didn’t believe that the Republicans could ever pull off an effective strategy to get disgruntled Americans across the nation to start talking about the structural failures of Barack Obama’s policies.   But it seems to be happening.  By making the Democrats respond to criticisms of their own policies, based on arguments and attacks from their own political playbook, Romney and Ryan have begun to exploit a serious weakness in the Democratic party.  Let’s hope they can keep the pressure on through November.


Posted by on August 19, 2012.
Filed under 2012 Presidential Race, Health Care, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan.
Tagged with: .

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  • Stan Brewer

    They need to reform the tort laws. Frivolous malpractice lawsuits are hurting the people as much as the Obamacare is. These lawsuits don’t benefit anyone, except the slip and fall lawyers. They make millions and drive up the costs, while the people they got to hire them, received a pittance of the judgement

  • Pretzel Logic

    Good one Mike, lets hope we feel the same way in October.

  • LiberalNightmare

    Kinda makes me wonder why the republicans didn’t do this before.

    Actually, I’d like to blame the republicans, but I think its our fault.
    Without the perfect storm of the crap-tatsic economy and the ridiculous democratic over-reach brought to us by our naked emperor and his allies, most of America would be sitting around fat, dumb and happy eating up every word the dem’s gave us.

    The Romney/Ryan ticket has the right message, but its only working because we are ready to hear it.

  • davidt

    Simply remove the barriers to interstate competition between private insurance companies so Adam Smith’s invisible hand of the market can do its work.

    • IndigoRed

      We hear this often and I was a supporter of the idea until the ObamaCare SCOTUS hearings when I realized that interstate competition means interstate trade in insurance which places the industry squarely within the authority of the Commerce Clause and then government can regulate the hell out it until government is in total control which would happen very quickly and very constitutionally. No court would or could declare such an event unconstitutional. We would still be left with GovCare.

      • jim_m

        It can’t be any worse than the intra state regs in some states. In some states the regs are so bad that if you aren’t physically located in the state it’s almost impossible to do business there. The political excuse is that they are trying to foster an in state industry, but the effect is an inefficient industry that is high cost to consumers.

        • IndigoRed

          It can’t be much worse than what we here in California are experiencing. The car insurance companies were leaving the state when the Legislature passed a law that forbade the leaving and now we have only a handful of companies to shop while those in other states refuse to enter or return. I think if health insurance went interstate, companies would simply shut down rather than play leaving government to take over the companies and eventually the industry with the effect being “an inefficient industry that is high cost to consumers.”

          Tort reform is needed along with the recognition that health care is not medical care. For health care, I go to, say, LA Fitness; for medical care, I go to a physician of my choice.

          • jim_m

            Yes to a point. I work in Health care and Health Care is Medical Care. The rest is lifestyle choices. I had a go around yesterday with an idiot who cited a study that claimed that childhood obesity and smoking rates were healthcare issues. They are lifestyle choices and in some cases of obesity a genetic issue.

            But your point is spot on regardless of what you call it. People conflate all sorts of side issues with healthcare. Things like longevity, smoking, drug abuse etc. These are not about medical treatment.

  • 914

    Biden will have them in chains if they go through with this travesty!!

  • ackwired

    Bringing Obamacare, Medicare, Medicade and other entitilement programs into the discussion is definitely a positive developement. But eliminating entitlements is not enough to “get the economy back on track”. To do that we also need to increase revenues and significantly cut military spending. Hopefully the total extent of Simpson Bowles and David Walker will end up being seriously considered.

    • Jwb10001

      I recently saw a study that said if you eliminated ALL non entitlement spending (all security spending including defence, and non seciurity spending including Nevada Cowboy Poets) you would still be out of balance and run a deficit every year, that’s how far out of whack this system is. I also think you should consider that no one on either side of the debate has ever said anything about eliminating entitlements. You can’t put forth a recomendation to bring the fiscal situation under control without including some reform of entitlements, it’s simply not possible. The last thing I would say is our best hope of making progress is to get our economy moving that requires more private sector activity I don’t understand how taking more from the private sector can help.

      • ackwired

        I couldn’t agree more that our fiscal situation is totally out of whack. I realize that no politicians are talking about eliminating any entitlements. But I think we are going to have to do just that to get a handle on this thing. We are actually in danger of our currency collapsing. If we can’t start paying for our government before our creditors lose faith in our ability or willingness to pay for our government, debt funding will dry up and the economy will collapse. We have been living on borrowed funds since the 80′s (except for a brief period during the first Bush and the Clinton administrations) and it is time to pay the piper. We may no longer have the luxury of funding less than 60% of the government through taxes, private sector vs. public sector notwithstanding.