On Monday, March 6th a thud so loud it registered on the Richter Scale was heard all across the United States.  That thud was the sound of Speaker Paul Ryan’s ObamaCare replacement plan being released.  Very quickly his replacement plan was greeted by a chorus of angry criticism from the Freedom Caucus, Freedom Works, the Tea Party Patriots, and so many other conservative/libertarian organizations.  All of those organizations saw Speaker Ryan’s proposal as a betrayal of their principles.  Labels such as ObamaCare 2.0, ObamaCare Lite, RyanCare, and RinoCare were immediately thrown at the proposal .

Here is an excerpt from a Senator Rand Paul interview, which was published in this Breitbart Article, where he criticizes Speaker Ryan’s legislation.

I think the reason why the House leadership bill is Obamacare Lite is because it retains subsidies. Obamacare had subsidies for people to buy insurance. In the Paul Ryan bill, they keep the subsidies—they just call them refundable tax credits. Some people are predicting that it’s actually going to be more expensive than the subsidies we have under Obamacare. This isn’t you getting your own money back, this is you getting somebody else’s money

The second thing that Paul Ryan’s Obamacare Lite bill does is they keep the Obamacare taxes—all of them—for a year. And then after a year, they keep the Cadillac Tax forever. That’s the tax on if you have really good insurance, Obamacare taxes that. So will Paul Ryan’s plan.

The third thing they do that is Obamacare-like is they keep the individual mandate. It seems like every Republican says they were against the individual mandate. That’s if you didn’t buy insurance you had to pay a penalty to the government, a tax. Obamacare Lite, Paul Ryan’s plan, just changes it so you have to pay a penalty to the insurance companies.

Then the fourth thing they do is they actually subsidize the insurance companies. Right now, insurance companies are losing money and Obamacare has this rescue thing called ‘risk corridors’ to bail out the insurance companies. Paul Ryan has got the same thing, he just calls it reinsurance and it’s $100 million worth. I predict that might not even be enough.

Speaker Ryan claims that his proposal is the best that can be done, because the repeal and replace needs to be done under Budget Reconciliation, to avoid a Democrat filibuster in the Senate.  According to Speaker Ryan his legislative proposal is just step one in a 3 step process.  Here is how he describes this process on his official website

As Speaker Ryan explained at his press conference, this approach has three overarching phases:

The American Health Care Act, which takes full advantage of the budget reconciliation process to avoid a Democratic filibuster;

Administration actions, notably by HHS Secretary Price, to stabilize the health insurance market, increase choices, and lower costs; and

Additional legislative policies, such as allowing individuals to purchase coverage across state lines, that by Senate rules cannot be included in a reconciliation bill.

Unfortunately, Speaker Ryan’s original proposal is such a miserable starting point for this Herculean effort it makes achieving anything worthwhile nearly impossible.

Many Republicans have stated that Speaker Ryan’s proposal is open to amendments.  This is what Representative Mark Sanford had to say about amendments in this Breitbart Article:

With regard to a healthcare bill moving forward, I see leadership’s healthcare plan as an opening proposal,

The debate that is forming will allow conservatives to enhance and improve what has been proposed, and I think this could represent a win for patients, healthcare providers, and the taxpayer alike.

Hopefully major amendments to Speaker Ryan’s proposal will be allowed,  but I’m not at all optimistic about that.

Why is Speaker Ryan’s proposal such a miserable first attempt?  Conservative Review has a very insightful theory  which they shared in this Article

In order to benefit individuals, a plan would have to focus on choice, competition, flexibility – the things that allow people to purchase what best suits their needs. Enter the next act in the health care reform drama – Paul Ryan’s “American Health Care Act” (AHCA for short). Republicans believe in free markets, right? So clearly the fundamental underpinnings of a Republican-designed health care plan will focus on freedom and individual choice, right? Uh … right?

A close look at the AHCA reveals a different operating philosophy, one more tied to preserving the status quo and appeasing industry interests than to improving cost of care, and choice for individuals. Put more simply, Paul Ryan’s Obamacare substitute is fundamentally geared toward keeping a stable customer base for insurers and encouraging universal insurance coverage rather than toward enabling a free market for health care.

According to this article, The Federalist has a theory about why Speaker Ryan’s proposal fails to repeal ObamaCare:

If you want to know why Republicans have bogged down, notice one peculiar thing about the Obamacare debate so far. It’s not really a debate over Obamacare, it’s a debate over Medicaid. That’s because Obamacare mostly turned out to be a big expansion of Medicaid. The health insurance exchanges that were supposed to provide affordable private health insurance (under a government aegis) never really delivered.

Ever since the passage of ObamaCare, Republican were united under the banner of full repeal and then replace.  Unfortunately, Speaker Ryan’s proposal is only a partial repeal. After the release of RyanCare, the Republicans are now seriously, if not hopelessly,  divided.  I believe only a return to full repeal will unite the Republican Party.  After the full repeal then the Republicans can pass a free market, patient centered replacement such as the one Senator Rand Paul authored.  Here is a link to his plan: Rand Paul Plan.

…in an attempt to stop Obamacare. In a broadcast by 73wire with Stacy McCain and Ali Akbar (Brown’s new media guy) we talked about the healthcare bill and there was an interesting exchange. I stressed how important this election was because it was necessary to stop obamacare BEFORE it was passed prompting the following:

Ali: “And if it does pass, we will repeal it!”

DaTechGuy: “No we won’t.”

It was very telling that Ali (who is a really smart young man) didn’t argue the point with me and changed the subject.

Well Scott won, but the democrats realizing that the only chance to get the bill passed now was for the house to pass the version that had already gone through the senate did so avoiding both a conference and the chance of a filibuster.

So the repeal bill is now coming up and we will find out who was right. I think Ali knows the its very hard to repeal a law once passed. He knows businesses and government have already adjusted their plans based on it. A lot of favors were done for a lot of people in that bill and those lobbyists who had those favors inserted want them preserved. Most importantly as a rule it’s easier to stop something than to do something in congress. A determined minority and frustrate the majority every time.

Yet there are real reasons to think he might be right. The left and the media are declaring that effort dead and phony but are doing their best to discourage this vote. If my original thought was right why would they bother? After all the senate is still a majority democratic institution. Very little chance on any change there is there?

The dirty little secret is until the house passes this bill the senate doesn’t have to even pretend to care, but once it IS passed than it is before the Senate. There are quite a few democratic senators who are in a tough spot. They either ran against Obamacare (WV) live in states where it is unpopular (MO) or face uphill reelection fights (Va). The retirement announcement of Kent Conrad in ND actually hurts the repeal effort because he can now vote to preserve it while the democrat who does run in his state can claim opposition.

However there is another factor involved. Every single democratic senator was the deciding vote to the passage of Obamacare this means that every vulnerable senator on the democratic side has that vote hanging around their neck. Those senators desperate to retain their seats and the power and privileges thereof will not want to run on Obamacare. A repeal vote would give them a chance to vote against it saying they’ve “reconsidered”.

Harry Reid might, in order to increase the chance of holding his senate majority allow a vote. If a democrat filibuster blocks it then vulnerable dems can clam they voted against said filibuster and if he allows it to reach the floor he can either “Fishbait Miller” the vote (let the three most vulnerable dems vote against it) or allow it to pass and let the president veto it.

This is the position that the White House least wants to be in. The president casting a very prominent vote to preserve a law that he pushed for against popular opinion. This would be a great gift to Republicans going into 2012 and represents (along with the rising price of gas and oil and high unemployment) the best chance for this president to lose re-election.

This is the importance of the house vote. It turns 2012 into a referendum on Obamacare. The closer these actions come to election day 2012 the worse the situation gets for democrats. The second best move for them would be to allow a Senate vote ASAP and get this whole thing over with early. The best option for democrats? That I’m not saying until the day after the presidential election.

Obamacare will not be repealed before the 2012 election but this vote might be the first step to insuring its repeal with a new person in the White House.