April 15, 2010

Out of the box thinking on entitlement spending - 1 cool idea

Entrenched? Is health care reform going to become entrenched? Is Social Security sacrosanct? What about Medicaid and Medicare? Is the nation doomed to grow more socialist with every liberal victory never to repeal anything, never to move right in any substantive way? I say no. But let's be honest - the victories for conservatives have been few and far between. What's a movement conservative to do? Think outside the box. Starting with health care repeal. That's a mountain of a challenge. But it is not insurmountable. 

Now let me predicate the rest of this post on the fact that it isn't altogether a fully hatched plan.  This is just a post a wrote on my blackberry while sitting on the subway musing about the current state of affairs on health care.  So take the whole post with a large grain of salt.  Still, as a stream of consciousness thought process, it isn't horrible, and it might be a good jumping off point for some smarter ideas.

Something like civil disobedience in the form of non-compliance is an option. But if it results in fines then it essentially becomes a conservative subsidizing of the program for liberals. That's no help. And not paying fines might end up an imprisoning offense. Unless you think that martyrs for freedom is a good idea, then that's probably unworkable too. That's a shame because footage of someone being carted off to jail for not buying health care would be a priceless reminder to the American public what they are in for with a forced compliance program. But conservatives are primarily law abiding citizens anyway and not as eager as some on the left to acquire a rap sheet. So the whole idea is problematic. 

So what's left? Shame. If it is truly unrepealable, I propose this solution as Plan B (Plan A being an attempt to repeal or radically alter and trim the beast).  

Plan B is to starve the beast.  I know you've heard that before, but this is in a different way. Shame. If you can make it less appealing for those to whom it was designed to appeal, and they refuse to participate out of a sense of pride, well then joining the non-compliance movement gets a whole lot easier.  It's political ju-jitsu. getting those who support it to frown on it and not want it would be an elegantly clever way to starve the health care beast.

How do you make it unappealing? Aside from the fact that it will be bureaucratic, which is not unappealing enough (witness DMV lineups as an example of grudging acceptance), it needs to be embarrassing. Perhaps Republicans can push for something as simple as a name change for the program. 

Call the insurance pools "Special insurance for those unwilling to take care of themselves.". Call the health care program "Help for the self-indulgent and lazy". 

The GOP would be branded as uncaring? They already are. The people would protest? Ignore them - Democrats did it to everyone opposed to their reforms. The people who need health care would take it anyway? Maybe. Or maybe they would try to stream into Medicare or Medicaid instead. Or maybe just some. 

The biggest problem would be the political will to do it. If conservatism is about ideas then it couldn't be done in isolation from a sensible alternative. It could be proposed as a name change only until sensible fixes are put in place. 

It would take electoral victories to have the votes to do it. Those will come. And it would take the will to take the risk. I'm not so sure the GOP has that in sufficient amount. But America is about risk and reward and it's the essence of free market capitalism.  If Republicans can't exemplify that should they really expect your support?

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