Dear Member of Congress,
I welcome both this week’s impending vote in the House of Representatives on repealing Obamacare, and Speaker Boehner’s comments last week that there will be an Obamacare alternative presented during this Congress. As bad as Obamacare has been—for our health care system, our debt and deficits, and our economy—it remains incumbent on us as conservatives, to put forward better ideas on health care.
As you may know, America Next, a think-tank for which I serve as honorary chairman, released an Obamacare alternative last spring. The plan focuses like a laser beam on Americans’ number one concern about health care—rising costs. It incentivizes states to reform their insurance and health care marketplaces to stem cost growth, while also guaranteeing access to individuals with pre-existing conditions. Most importantly, the plan repeals all of Obamacare—including all of the law’s tax increases—and does not replace those tax increases with other revenue hikes.
I recognize there are other Obamacare alternatives out there; I welcome their ideas, and relish a debate about market-oriented solutions to this Administration’s government-centered approach. But I would caution that conservatives need to focus on truly conservative health reforms—and not merely a slightly-less-liberal plan. Some proposals being discussed would repeal-and-replace the law’s tax increases—substituting other tax increases for Obamacare’s revenue hikes. Likewise, some proposals would also restore several of Obamacare’s mandates, regulations, and new spending programs.
History tells us the inherent flaws of this misguided approach. Two decades ago, some—though certainly not all—Republicans, looking to respond to Hillary Clinton’s failed health care takeover, drafted legislation that required all Americans to purchase health insurance, and taxed them if they did not. That individual mandate eventually became an integral part of Obamacare. Its history tells us why it’s so critical that we fashion smart conservative policies—policies that stand up for freedom and the rights of patients—rather than trying to function as cheap liberals, expanding government slightly less than the Left.
Fortunately, conservatives not only have the lessons from history to guide them—they have the American people on their side too. A poll last spring found that a majority (55%) of Americans believe that “any replacement of Obamacare must repeal all of the Obamacare taxes and not just replace them with other taxes.” More than three in four Republicans (77%) and conservatives (76%) agree with this sentiment.
For all these reasons, I urge you to examine the proposals in the America Next Plan closely, and to be bold in putting forward strong conservative alternatives to Obamacare—ones that do not merely disguise Obamacare’s spending and tax increases in other forms. Together, we can win the war of ideas against the Left, and demonstrate to the American people a better way forward on health care.
Governor Bobby Jindal
Honorary Chairman, America Next