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Repeal this!

By Dr. Lucas Restrepo

There is no need to invent the wheel. It was invented long time ago. Advocates of reinventing the wheel are either stupid or dishonest.

Misrepresenting the Patient Protection and Affordable Act (PPACA) is a favorite weapon of politicians who lack concrete solutions to the challenges confronting the nation. However, their shortage of substance won’t be remedied any longer by the noble motto “I’m not the incumbent:” now they are the government that they bitterly vilified. And dismantling all recent legislation, regardless of their merits, is hardly a prudent course.

Since Arizona is the national capital of bad ideas, here are 2 illustrative local examples:

Exhibit A. House races:

Newly elected house of representatives vow repealing PPACA. They concede that some nebulous type of reform is needed, although starting from scratch. Yet reality is a stubborn thing. To repeal PPACA, 2/3 of Congress must vote to override a presidential veto, while 60 votes in the Senate are required to overcome a filibuster. Thus, repeal is a curious platform for a politician who brags that his “talent is numbers,” like Representative-elect David Schweikert. Another figure beyond his mathematical prowess: 50.7 million Americans were uninsured in 2009.

Exhibit B. A ballot initiative:

Pundits who find representative democracy objectionable end up resorting to plebiscites. Indeed, arcane numbers attached to harmless slogans are rarely understood or cared for by anyone, and are never seriously scrutinized by the media. “Your health, your decisions” sounds pretty good —until you start thinking. Proposition 106 pledged that no one will be forced to participate in any “health care system” or fined after paying for health care services. It also reassured Arizonans that insurance purchase won’t be “prohibited by law.” It’s comical that the authors of this initiative are worried about the fate of health insurance companies, when PPACA is poised to furnish 35 million new clients. PPACA has no provisions “forcing” people into health care “systems,” or punishing those already insured. Health care reform provides incentives to the uninsured to purchase insurance through exchanges, which offer market-based choices. More people will have to buy insurance, but unlike auto insurance mandates, PPACA has exceptions, particularly low income. Those unable to afford insurance will be eligible for subsidies or Medicaid. So what’s the proposition’s purpose? Let me guess: allow local politicians to boast they oppose an imaginary government takeover of health care. To demonstrate this point, Governor Jan Brewer, the great benefactor of mankind who signed SB1070 into law, opined  that “a yes vote on 106 is a vote against the mandate by President Obama and the Democratic Congress, who with ObamaCare, have given the IRS the power to fine Americans who don’t buy insurance.” But once again, reality refuses to cooperate with Arizona’s philosopher-kings. The initiative is unlikely to interfere with PPACA’s implementation because of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, in which federal laws supersede state laws. In other words, proposition 106 was merely a chance to cast a symbolic vote, using tax dollars.

Mario Vargas Llosa, in an essay titled the art of lying, wrote: “men are not content with their lot, and nearly all —rich or poor, brilliant or mediocre, famous or obscure— would like to have a life different from the one they lead. To (cunningly) appease this appetite, fiction was born.” The rich, mediocre and obscure give birth to fictions that compel us to reinvent the wheel. But there is a difference between finding solutions to real problems and misjudging that existing solutions are the problem itself.

Responsible implementation of PPACA is needed, not revanchism. Repeal is not a solution, it is a fiction.

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