When President Trump addresses Congress tonight, there will be at least one 800-pound gorilla in the room, the most prominent being Obamacare. Everyone knows where Trump stands on immigration and several other issues, but by far the biggest unknown as it relates to a most vital issue is where Republicans stand on health care. Are they for free markets or have they already accepted most of the Left’s premises behind Obamacare? It’s time for Trump to put any questions aside, place the blame of the market destruction squarely on the shoulders of Democrats, and chart a fresh and innovative path forward that is focused on cutting prices, and fostering more choice, competition, and portability.
To that end, here is how Trump should frame the issue:
1. Begin by framing the status quo and how we got here.
Ladies and gentlemen, after years of spending well over $1 trillion annually in combined federal and state health care spending, what do we have to show for it? With Obamacare as the final nail in the coffin to this already convoluted system, premiums and deductibles have doubled and even tripled, while 70% of the counties only have one or two insurers left. In addition, the crushing premiums are responsible for $19 billion in lost wages, 10,130 fewer business establishments to be opened, and nearly 300,000 lost jobs. Only dumb career politicians could have conjured up such a plan.
2. Next, place the burden on Democrats to stop obstructing:
Not a single member of my party voted for this travesty. We are ready and willing to restore our system, but it requires bipartisan cooperation. What is the Democrat plan to make insurance solvent again? What is the Democrat plan to instill a sense of innovation and modernization into the system they broke? And as for those people who benefited from the unsustainable subsidies — even at record high prices — these options will all end if nothing is done to repeal Obamacare. What is the point of subsidies that will bankrupt our country if there are no insurers left? And given that most of the coverage expansion was achieved through Medicaid, what is the purpose of saddling people with no options but a program that everyone agrees is built upon poor delivery?
Humana has already promised to quit the marketplace in 2018 and the CEO of Aetna already warned that the exchanges are in an unsustainable death spiral of actuarially insolvent regulations and crushing subsidies. UnitedHealth Group, the largest insurer in the country, has threatened to pull out of the exchanges this year. Obamacare is already responsible for throwing most people off their affordable plans and making them pay a second mortgage for basic insurance. By Democrats continuing to keep this cancer in our system, they will ensure that even the heavily subsidized individuals lose coverage within a few years. Congress has a moral responsibility to repeal this leviathan instead of doubling down on stupidity. It is those who obstruct the repeal of this bad law who are responsible for people dying without affordable health care.”
3. Next, build up the Democrat “alternative” and expose its cronyism for all of America to see:
And no, granting more subsidies to companies seeking a bailout from insolvency is not the solution. Many of these same companies are responsible for promoting and lobbying for this travesty. We will not continue to bankrupt our children’s generation by funding this death spiral of self-fulfilling price hikes and bankrupting subsidies. Nobody I know in my business career would have ever concocted such a dumb plan had they known it would have to sink or swim without the government trough. The verdict is already in and the facts speak for themselves: we can’t regulate, tax, mandate, and subsidize ourselves into solvency.
The only other option is socialized medicine. But with Great Britain now experiencing a national crisis with shortage of health care providers do we really want people waiting hours for an ambulance to arrive or have hospitals turn away women in labor? That is happening right now in Europe. This is America and we are better than that. We should stay as far away from their self-immolating health care ideas as we should their immigration policies.
4. Then, promise affordable health insurance across the board, not the fantasy of universal coverage
Liberals promise a utopia but create a living hell. Our promise is to provide the largest array of choices at the lowest costs for the broadest number of people. The focus of our plan will be to foster as much opportunity for flexibility, portability, personal responsibility for individuals, innovation, and competition in the market place for health insurance, as well as fixing anti-market forces on the supply side of health care itself. Equal tax treatment for the individual and employment markets, eliminating the anti-trust exemption for insurance, coupled with expanded HSAs and breaking down cross-state insurance barriers, will make insurance portable, affordable, and foster more options and competition.
5. Next, I’d paint an image for a modern and innovative health care sector
Behind every aspect of health care and health insurance that has missed the great technological revolution is a government regulation or intervention. Ever wonder why heart surgery costs $106,000 in America but only $1,583 in India? Thanks to the FDA, the AMA monopoly on healthcare, and onerous state regulations, all innovative ideas are boxed out in order to perpetuate the existing racket of crony capitalism and government regulation. I call upon the states as laboratories of democracy to compete with each other and tear down the Berlin wall of regulations that stifle doctors and hospitals from coming up with more cost-effective ways of delivering health care just to satisfy to powers behind the status quo.
Trump should draw on his personal experiences as an entrepreneur to explain how the sky is the limit in terms of positive market ideas once the onerous government regulations and collusion with Big Pharma lobbies are broken down.
Without repeal of Obamacare, there is no way Trump will succeed in bringing back the economy, reducing the deficit, bringing relief to families, and fostering fiscal independence. And unless the law is repealed within the first few months, it is here to stay forever. Tonight’s address will be his only opportunity to forcefully make the case for full repeal without the filter of the media or without the muddled mess of inarticulate Republican leaders in Congress. It’s now or never.
The stage is his.