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Phil Valentine: What does it take to repeal Obamacare?

Phil Valentine • Updated Aug 10, 2017 at 3:00 PM

What happened? We gave the Republicans control of the House so they could repeal Obamacare. They said they needed the Senate. We gave them that. “Oh, we tried on multiple occasions,” they said. Mean ole Obama vetoes it. So we gave them the White House. The House, the Senate and the White House. Slam dunk. Obamacare’s toast. Nope. Here we sit. 

And now I’m hearing that Sen. Lamar Alexander is teaming with Patty Murray to draft a compromise? Are you kidding me? A compromise? Did we look like we were compromising when we snatched the speaker’s gavel away from San Fran Nan? Did we look like we were compromising when we sent Harry Reid packing? How about the biggest presidential upset since Truman beat Dewey? 

What does the failure of the Republicans to repeal Obamacare tell us? For starters, it tells us we have too many RINOs roaming the halls of Congress. These Republicans in name only include people like Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain. It also includes some names up for re-election next year like Jeff Flake from Arizona and Bob Corker from Tennessee, a couple of senators who foresaw their careers going down in flames and pragmatically supported repeal.

But the main thing the repeal failure tells us is we have too few in Congress who actually believes in the free market. Oh, they say they do. They profess to be bullish on capitalism, except when it comes to actually applying it.

They argue that health care is too crucial to people’s lives to be left to the free market. Is that so? How about food? Isn’t that more crucial to people’s lives than health care? Of course it is. And we leave that to the free market. And food is relatively inexpensive because of it. Those who can’t afford it get it for free through the food stamp program. Truth be told, too many people who can afford it get it for free through the food stamp program. But that’s an argument for another day.

The bottom line is nothing is more important than food. We go without it for a few days and we die. Yet we completely allow the free market to dictate the price. Why don’t we do the same with health care? Ah, because some people wouldn’t be able to afford it. That’s why we have Medicaid.

I read an interesting statistic. Prior to Obamacare, around 87 percent of Americans had insurance. That left 13 percent without it. Of those without it, 30 percent were not citizens of the United States. Another 30 percent were people who qualified for Medicaid but just didn’t bother to apply for it. That left 40 percent of that 13 percent who perhaps were falling through the cracks. Many of those people actually weren’t falling through the cracks. A good number of them were transitioning to new jobs and were still in the 90-day probation period. In other words, whatever the number of truly uninsured, it was minuscule compared to those who were happy with their insurance. But we had to turn the health care industry upside down anyway.

That was not by mistake, nor is the imminent failure of Obamacare. The architects knew that failure was baked in. That was the point. The insurance companies bail one by one from the program until only one is left. And that lone insurer is subsidized by the government for the good of the people. Single-payer health care.

And now the Republicans want to bail out Obamacare. Walk into my parlor, said the spider to the fly.

Phil Valentine is a nationally syndicated talk radio host. Find him at philvalentine.com.

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