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Mark Caserta: GOP must offer healthcare plan

Aug. 01, 2013 @ 10:05 AM

Congressional conservatives are drawing a "line in the sand" and will not support the funding of Obamacare.

This past Saturday, some 66 Republicans dispatched a letter to House Speaker John Boehner calling for the removal of discretionary spending for the Affordable Care Act from the continuing resolution funding the U.S. government.

The letter, circulated by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., described the premise for the Republican dissent.

"In light of the Administration's recent delay of the employer mandate and the Internal Revenue Service scandal, it is imperative, now more than ever, that Congress do everything in its power to halt the implementation of the healthcare law," Meadows writes. "It is entirely unacceptable that the IRS, a government agency that actively discriminates against Americans, is in charge of implementing a law that Americans do not want."

While no conservative supports Obamacare, Republicans are divided on how best to approach it moving forward. Once appropriated, any further changes to the law would likely take place under a new administration.

Some Republicans are concerned over the public's perception of the GOP's willingness to "shut down" the government simply to defund the president's healthcare initiative, viewing it as an act of futility since an amendment to the resolution would never make it past the Senate or the president.

Others see it as a defining moment in conservative history, asking how many more times will leadership have to cave to Barack Obama asserting his agenda over the wishes of the majority of Americans and the representatives they voted into office.

Republicans agree the president doesn't have the power to selectively enforce and amend laws passed by Congress as he did when he chose to delay Obamacare's onerous mandates on large businesses, while simultaneously forcing individuals and families to fund the individual mandate.

My opposition as a conservative to the Affordable Healthcare Act has certainly not been from a lack of compassion for those not having health insurance.

I simply believe there are other ways to offer affordable, accessible healthcare to all Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions, without a government "decree" that all citizens purchase healthcare or pay a fine to the IRS!

Skyrocketing medical liability insurance rates are forcing doctors to order costly and often unnecessary tests to protect themselves from lawsuits. Common-sense legislation should be enacted to rein in fraud and abuse in the system to reduce costs.

Americans should also have the opportunity to purchase health insurance across state lines. This capitalist solution would spur healthy competition via broadened choices for health care coverage and again, lower costs.

Republicans are making a mistake by allowing the discussion to be defined by the premise that only Democrats want affordable health care for Americans. That just isn't true.

The difference is conservatives want it done constitutionally and without hurting jobs and the economy.

Republicans must return to offering real solutions in their healthcare message and quit defining success as "defeating Obamacare."

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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