It's true-believer dogma at the Democratic National Committee headquarters and its news media outposts. House Republicans, it's said by those reading in unison out of the same political prayer book, are about to shut down the federal government over ObamaCare without even bothering to offer an alternative
The assertion falls a distance short of truth, by any reasonable measure. House Republicans are proposing to fund all facets of government EXCEPT ObamaCare. The Obama Administration already has granted major, selective exemptions to ObamaCare provisions. And the administration already has selectively delayed a major portion of the ObamaCare law.
Meanwhile, preparations for looming ObamaCare deadlines consist of ominous scurrying and scrambling. Is going back to the drawing board on healthcare legislation a justifiable reason for President Obama to be drawing another one of his red lines?
Granted that the approach House Republicans are pursuing may well be a kamikaze political mission for them, since the Obama media minions will rush -- indeed, stampede -- to put all of the blame for a shutdown on the GOP. A more prudent course for the Republicans' own partisan sake would be for them to let the Rube Goldberg machine of ObamaCare collapse under the crushing weight of its own regulatory impracticalities and bureaucratic perversities. THEN back to the healthcare reform drawing board.
In any event, Republicans in fact HAVE offered alternative proprosals to ObamaCare. The alternatives have been stiff-armed by the White House and Senate leaders and mostly ignored by the media.
• Rep. Phil Roe (Tenn.) first introduced comprehensive reform legislation back in 2007. (He's an obstetrician/gynecologist, by the way.)
• Rep. Sam Johnson (Tex.) has introduced legislation to allow small companies to pool their employee-medical coverage risks so that they get insurance discounts like the bigger companies do. This could help secure, maybe even expand coverage. (Johnson, incidentally, is a cardiovascular surgeon.)
• Rep. Mike Burgess (Tex.) also has introduced comprehensive medical coverage reform legislation. (He's also an obstetrician/gynecologist, by the way.)
• Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.) has introduced legislation for tax breaks to help defray coverage costs and to establish "portable" plans employees can take with them from job to job. (Coburn, too, by the way, is an MD.)
Surely there's at least the outside possibility these lawmakers, being medical professionals by background, have some knowledge of the issues, though not -- of course! -- the brilliant omniscient genius of the law school-trained community organizer president.
It may be argued that these and other GOP proposals are inadequate. Or unrealistic. Although what's more unrealistic than ObamaCare itself with its hornswoggler promise to expand the availability of healthcare, vastly improve its quality and in the bargain cut costs?
The one point that can't be truthfully argued, however, is that there are no GOP alternatives.
--The Trentonian (N.J.), Sept. 25