Inconsistencies in the Political Opposition to the ACA
Here’s a really brief summary, excerpted from Jonathan Bernstein:
1. Opposing the ACA Medicare cuts was what Republicans ran on in 2010, and are running on today.
2. Republicans support the cuts that they ran, and are running, against. Soon after arriving in Washington, that Tea Party class of 2011 voted for the Ryan budget which contained the very Medicare cuts they campaigned against.
3. [There is] absolute Republican opposition to the long-term cost-cutting measures in ACA (such as the IPAB) — while at the same time Republicans also have been bashing Barack Obama and the Democrats for not being willing to do “entitlement reform.”
Thus, Ross Douthat is unfair to say that “There was no meaningful Republican plan for reform during the heat of the original debate, and for all the notional talk about repealing and replacing, much the same void exists today.” There was a plan, and there is a plan. The plan is just being disguised or disclaimed as vigorously as tax-exempt groups now hide their donations. (For example, “even as Aetna’s president publicly voiced support for” the ACA, his company secretly donated millions to groups that attacked the plan. Private insurers generally spent over $100 million in this way over 15 months.) To understand what either party in the DC will do regarding the future of health care, we should look to their donor base, rather than their publicly stated positions.