Ohio Project volunteers will enjoy reading Phil Gramm’s July 24th editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Gramm offers Republicans a strategy for defeating Obamacare, one that Ohioans know is popular with a wide sector of the population – allowing people to choose (or not to choose) their own health-care coverage. Gramm writes,
“…there is one unifying principle that Republicans can and should rally around now: the right of American families to choose their own health-care coverage. In other words, the right to refuse to participate in Obamacare. The freedom principle will provide relief from the worst manifestations of the Affordable Care Act – and debating the issue will unite Republicans and divide Democrats. As the midterm election approaches, Democrats will find it harder to oppose such an effort.”
Gramm’s suggestion is ingenious in its simplicity and in its wide-ranging appeal. He points out that 59% of Americans oppose Obamacare. Giving people a way-out of this detested law through the popular message of health care freedom has the potential to attract voters from every corner of the electorate.
Proof positive can be found in Ohio. In the November 2011 election, union members turned out in droves to overturn Senate Bill 5, a bill which limited collective bargaining. SB 5 was defeated by over 60% of the electorate. Issue 3, a Constitutional Amendment plainly titled “To Preserve the Freedom of Ohioans to Choose their Health Care and Health Care Coverage” was on the ballot at the same time. Even with the heavily Democrat turn-out and the limited resources of Issue 3’s proponents, the health care freedom amendment succeeded with 66% of the statewide vote. Health-care freedom was such a popular message in Ohio, it carried the day in every county in the state — all 88 of them — by wide margins.
Mr. Gramm indicates that talking about the freedom to choose your own health-care was the primary means by which he and others defeated Hillarycare during the Clinton presidency.
An Obamacare opt-out will do more than defeat Obamacare; it will also bring down insurance premiums. Gramm explains,
“A freedom option would let families buy and insurance companies sell coverage families believe meets their needs. This option would significantly reduce the cost of basic health insurance and thus increase the number of Americans who buy it without the law forcing them to. And it would allow a cost-effective private health-insurance system to develop independent of Obamacare.”
Making health-care freedom an issue in the upcoming mid-term elections is a win-win for Republicans – not only can it help bring about a Republican Senate majority, but subsequently Republicans would be able to put serious pressure on Democrats by passing an Obamacare opt-out through both houses of Congress. Gramm states,
“This freedom is an anathema to the president and his party because coercion is at the very heart of Obamacare. Harry Reid might be able to shield Senate Democrats from having to vote against freedom to choose for now. But a Republican Senate majority after the November elections could put this proposal front and center before President Obama and the nation.”
Gramm notes that the recent federal court ruling on the tax subsidies in Obamacare may provide congressional Republicans a real opportunity to put freedom of choice for health-care into law. If the Supreme Court takes-up the case and orders Congress to clarify its intent with regard to federal exchange subsidies, Republicans could refuse to bring up any legislation to fix the subsidy issue unless health-care freedom is part of the proposal.
Mr. Gramm presents a uniquely American answer to the number one problem of our day – defeating Obamacare. Freedom is still popular with the American people and few politicians want to be seen arguing against it. The ability to make health-care choices for yourself and your family is fundamental to ensuring individual liberty and it doesn’t take a catchy slogan or slick graphics to get people to rally around the idea. It just takes a Republican leadership willing to articulate a message as clearly and steadily as the Ohio Project volunteers did just three years ago.
Read Phil Gramm’s editorial, “A 2014 Health-Care Strategy: Freedom,” HERE.