Repealing health care by House Republicans is now an unpopular position. And requiring insurers to spend at least 80 to 85 percent of their income on care, instead of corporate profits, could destroy the industry, according to one Republican lawmaker who is unafraid to look the prostitute.
I liked this intriguing way to frame the repeal debate by Matt Miller:
Fine. I'm willing to repeal Obamacare. On one condition. Republicans need to pass a law that the Congressional Budget Office certifies will cover the same number of uninsured as the Democratic health reform does - 30 million. And it has to do it at lower cost.
If I were President Obama, this is what I would be saying this week. And in the State of the Union address next week. And every time the question comes up.
The logic is simple. If Republicans are serious, they have to accept that it's a national priority to make sure that every American has basic health coverage. But since Democrats could only muster the will to cover 30 million, that's all we can expect the GOP to match as a measure of seriousness. (Though I'd be happy to see them shame Democrats with a plan to cover more).
There is no chance the Republican House will pass such a bill. That's because the GOP does not view the presence of 50 million uninsured in a wealthy nation as an issue that needs to be addressed.
Why not? Largely because, as the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan once told me (channeling the Republican mind on the uninsured): "Those folks never vote for us and we have our priorities for the money."
When Obama met with Republican leaders in that hours-long televised health-care gabfest … the outer limit of GOP ambition was a plan that would cover 3 million of the uninsured.
What's more, I still think the best model to emulate is mighty Singapore's, a savvy blend of private responsibility and public provision that leaves that nation with world-class outcomes at 4 percent of GDP (vs. our 17 percent). It's a breathtaking achievement that would give our overpaid medical industrial complex a heart attack.
To those who say we should get costs under control before extending coverage to the uninsured, I say: that's a perfectly reasonable argument . . . that only a well-insured person would make.
Matt Miller, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and co-host of public radio's "Left, Right & Center," writes a weekly column for The Post.