Iowa's Republican Party, released its first public statement on Justice Roberts' decision NFIB v. Sebelius Thursday. The statement, by Chairman AJ Spiker, provided Iowa Republicans with quite a surprise.
"President Obama clearly lied to the American people when he promised not to raise taxes on middle class Americans. Obamacare not only raises taxes on every single Iowan, but also guarantees higher health care costs and deficits in perpetuity. The winners today are big corporate health insurance companies who lobbied vigorously for this law and government bureaucrats, while patients have lost control over their personal heath care decisions."
“The Supreme Court’s decision today is a set back for believers of individual liberty and smaller government all across Iowa, but rest assured this will only energize us even further. The Republican Party of Iowa will be working tirelessly to send Mitt Romney to the White House along with a full Republican delegation to Congress in order to repeal Obamacare in its entirety and replace it with meaningful market-driven reforms that will reduce costs, protect patients and increase quality of care."
Spiker's statement is notable for its courage and candor.
The Republican critique of Obamacare and the Supreme Court's refusal to limit government authority has largely, almost exclusively, focused on the apparent errors and logical inconsistency of the 5-4 majority decision and its unlimiting affect on the federal government's power to control individual conduct. But Spiker and RPI added a new, positive and potentially significant third argument: a rejection of corporatism as the only alternative to socialism in healthcare financing.
Republicans have been largely silent as to alternatives to Obamacare, almost as if our leadership fails to grasp the real need for a new heathcare financing system. Healthcare spending in the United States is exploding, both in absolute terms and relative to the rest of the developed world.
The years since 2008 have seen an explosion in healthcare costs not reflected in the foregoing charts. Real people pay the almost countless billions of dollars represented in the Kaiser foundation charts. Just as important, someone gets those almost countless billions of dollars. The money does not just evaporate.
The Republican alternatives, such as they are, have said almost nothing about empowering individuals. We blather about law suit reform-meaningless in most of the country where medical malpractice suits are rare and more rarely successful. Of course insurance companies, hospital companies and medical care providers want to be immunized from the consequences of their errors, who wouldn't.
ERISA's broad protections against medical lawsuits was supposed to bend the cost curve down-just the opposite happened. The ERISA provisions limiting malpractice damages had the opposite affect-at the very least it did nothing but save insurance companies what is by now hundreds of billions of dollars. Those dollars have not seemed to find their way into anyone but shareholder's and executive pockets.
Republicans have to do more, much more, if we are going to both capture the healthcare issue as a political strength and, more importantly, fix the healthcare financing system. As Spiker says, we here in Iowa will work for market driven reforms, not just the endless protection of big health insurance companies, that are, at best, marginally less impersonal and responsible than big government.
There are many miles yet to be walked in this debate. Time alone will tell if Republican walk will match Spiker's talk. God knows there will be massive resistance to a market based solution that equalizes consumer rights and abilities with producers immunities and profits. The Republican establishment, that feasts at the trough of insurance political contributions, employment opportunities and social relationships, will fight any reform that reduces insurance profits and increases insurance risk.
But if we fail to fight this battle, in the end, what alternative do we present to a public that is economically crippled by the disconnection of medical industry profit from competition? The voting public needs relief and if we cannot offer it they will turn, again, to the socialized medical system offered by Euro-style socialists that want to use it to forever chain people to the government.
"When conservatives become corporatists, the public votes socialist."