We have previously written that there is no unifying vision for health reform among Republicans in Congress. (See here and here.) Josh Barro apparently thinks there is zero vision. He’s wrong. There are multiple visions and they are all in fundamental conflict.
Not only is there no unifying alternative to ObamaCare, Republicans can’t even agree on minor changes to the act. Divisions in the Republican ranks killed a House bill this week that would have removed about $4 billion from a special Prevention and Public Health Fund (that the administration has been using as a “slush fund” to help finance the creation of health insurance exchanges and is planning to use to propagandize for ObamaCare). The bill would spend most of the money on the new federal risk pools that provide insurance to uninsurable individuals. The administration has frozen enrollment at the current level of 107,000 people, even though there are thousands of other potential enrollees.
So the bill would (1) defund the ObamaCare exchanges, (2) defund the administration’s propaganda efforts, (3) support a health reform idea that almost all Republicans are on record as liking and (4) take away from the Democrats the sole reason they gave for supporting health reform in the first place: insurance for the uninsurable. It had the backing of the Republican leadership, Grover Norquist and most conservative health economists.
Yet it was successfully opposed by the Heritage Foundation and the Club for Growth. “Subsidizing health care is not what Republicans should be about,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) said at a Capitol Hill event organized by the Heritage Foundation.
If you don’t see irony in that, you haven’t been paying attention.