What is the GOP's plan, beyond repeal?

Here is a draft of our Friday editorial on the U.S. Supreme Court health care ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court handed President Barack Obama a big victory. And the court handed his Republican adversaries a rallying point.

In validating Obama’s centerpiece legislation, the 2010 health care law, a 5-4 court majority upheld the “individual mandate” — the requirement that Americans purchase health insurance, and the linchpin of the law.

The ruling keeps the health care law on the books, largely but not entirely intact. But the individual mandate was upheld in a nuanced manner — the court validated the federal government’s power to impose taxes on those who do not secure health insurance. And that gave an opening to Republicans.

Idaho senior Sen. Mike Crapo was among the first of many to seize on the wording. Crapo, R-Idaho, sponsored an amendment during Senate debate to strip the health care bill of taxing authority, the very language that enabled the law to survive a Supreme Court challenge. “We were engaged in that debate,” Crapo told the Statesman Thursday morning.

Now, Republicans will be able to use Obama’s words against him: his pledge to hold the line on taxes for every American making under $250,000 a year. (On Thursday, Crapo cited numbers from the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan research arm of the legislative branch, which says that more than 75 percent of the cost of the individual mandate will be borne by the middle class).

And so it begins. The Republican House has already scheduled a July 11 vote on repealing the health care law — a strictly symbolic gesture. Repeal is a non-starter this year, and no done deal even if Republicans win the White House and the Senate.
But there is a more basic problem with repeal-o-rama rhetoric.

It skirts the fundamental question of how Republicans in Congress would fix the American health care system. The soundbite is familiar: a pledge to pursue market-based reforms. Some of the particulars have merit — such as enhanced “pooling” to help small businesses find insurance, and allowing consumers to buy insurance from across state lines.

What are the details?

And what is GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s plan, beyond Thursday’s boilerplate repeal reaction? Romney says he would put states in control of crafting health care plans that suit their own preferences — which would, presumably allow states to embrace the Obama approach, or the very similar model Romney enacted as governor of Massachusetts.

Those without insurance — at least 30 million nationally, by Obama’s estimates Thursday, and more than 200,000 in Idaho — deserve to hear the GOP's alternative. That also applies to the 54 million Americans who have already received free preventive care under the Obama law. And it applies to Americans under the age of 26, who can now stay on their parents’ health care plans.

If the Obama plan is as unacceptable as its critics say it is, what exactly would be acceptable?

That’s not for the Supreme Court to answer, of course. Its job was simply to rule on the constitutionality of existing law. The court’s ruling does not settle the debate over public policy and potential options; it merely sets the stage for it.

nothing about the effect on Idaho?

I know, only so much space.


Actually, you're a step ahead of us. The Sunday edit will drill down to those details (health care exchange, Medicaid expansion).

Kevin Richert
editorial page editor


cat fund, cat fund

They never HAD a plan other than repeal

This was confirmed in the Boehner/Limbaugh phone call.


“I got a call from Speaker Boehner last Friday,” said Rush Limbaugh on his radio show Wednesday. “He called a lot of people and he was telling us what the Republican plan is. And it was repeal, repeal, repeal. Regardless of what happens. … He made it clear that repeal — and not repeal and replace, but repeal — was going to be the focal point for the House Republicans.”

Plain and simple - the Republicans lied, and lied big.

isn't it the Republicans

who criticize the repeal of the Luna laws because they claim people don't have an alternative plan?

Not exactly, Fisher

I can only speak for this Republican, but the lack of any alternative plan would not be a valid reason for me to support the education reforms, the same as the lack of an alternative plan is not a reason for me to support ACA. After examining the substance of a law, you either support it or you don't. I support the education reforms as a small step in the right direction, and I oppose Obamacare as a giant leap in the wrong direction.

Elections matter!

"It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices." - Chief Justice John Roberts in the high court's ruling on Obamacare.

Roberts also quoted Benjamin Franklin in saying that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes.

Really, K.R., you want to know about the details of a Republican plan after Pelosi told you we must pass laws to find out what is in them? After two years, you still only know a smattering of details about ACA, because the details are in the 10,000 and counting regulations the unelected bureaucrats at HHS will be writing for the rest of our lives - assuming this law is not repealed.

Great post. And I am really proud of Justice Roberts.

Though I loathe the ACA law, I have utmost respect for the Chief Justice. He realized that this MANDATE is really a TAX. Congress has the right to TAX whatever it wants. The financial mechanism to the attempt to fund this bill is the MANDATE, which boils down a TAX. The court did not overstep it's boundary, and deceided to uphold. Thank you George Bush, for the Roberts appointment.

The American people put Obama/Pelosi/Reid in position to enact this legislation. No matter how sloppy this law is the American electorate will have to live with it. The 2012 election will hinge on this law, as it should be.

As far as this blog being liberal, hey, thats OK. As long as Kevin identifies himself as a commentator and not a news reporter, I'm OK with it. I read as many left leaning blogs as I do conservative ones.

Finally, a "tax" I don't have to pay!

Finally, a "tax" I don't have to pay.

Those who have the means should step up and act responsibly. I am tired of paying for people who can afford to buy insurance but have chosen not to. And as Chief Justice Roberts wrote, "The payment is not so hight that there really is no choice but to buy health insurance..."
If these people aren't going to take responsibility for their costs, at least they can help offset the overall cost in some way.


Repuglicans make me sick to my stomach.So f!@#$%^& stupid

So take some Obamacare

And see if you don't feel better in the morning. I understand it will kill you or cure you depending on what the non-physician (death) panel says.

The Conservatives agenda ...

Does history repeat it self???

In the history of America "Conservatives" have been against ending slavery, minimum wage and child labor laws. They were also against rural electrification and the creation of public lands as in "not a dollar for scenery." Deep thinkers these Conservatives are.

Hey commie buy a generator for your cult digs.

The private sector got you a tractor, commputer, generator and skilled labor, so stop you whinning and get a life. Your certainly not a deep thinker, 'bitc*ing on America.'

Jefferson Davis was a

Member of the Democratic party. Martin Luther King was a registered Republican.

Ignoring a lot of facts and history in that simple statement.

For one, beyond someone putting up a billboard proclaiming King to be a Republican, I don't think there is specific evidence. Additionally, beginning in 1960 he campaigned for Democrats Kennedy and later Johnson while denouncing Goldwater. When you consider these facts the 'Republican' comment ignores the reality of King at the height of his power.

The Democratic party of 1860 in the 'South' is basically the Republican party of the 'South' in 2010. See Nixon; Southern Strategy and how it worked and changed the dominant party affiliation now seen in that region.

Why are conservatives so afraid of real facts?

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Nice try, boisepoet, but historically inaccurate

You might want to read "The End of Southern Exceptionalism: Class, Race, and Partisan Change in the Postwar South," by Byron Shafer and Richard Johnston (Harvard University Press, 2006) According to these scholars, the Republican Party gained strength in the South commensurate with the gradual rise of a southern middle-class, voters who were influenced more by economic issues and anti-Communism than issues about race. They also argue that migration patterns played a role in these developments, that as more blacks moved north seeking employment opportunities, a significant number of northern whites moved south seeking investment opportunities.

In a New York Times review of the above cited book, Clay Risen observed in the research, "The South transformed itself from a backward region to an engine of the national economy, giving rise to a sizable new wealthy suburban class. This class, not surprisingly, began to vote the party that best represented its economic interests: the GOP. Working-class whites, however - and here's the surprise - even those in areas with large black populations, stayed loyal to the Democrats. This was true until the 90s, when the nation as a whole turned rightward in Congressional voting."

Some random historical facts: Tennessee elected its first Republican congressman in 1918 who was joined by another Republican in 1934. Kentucky and Missouri elected Republicans to the House in 1934. West Virginia elected its first GOP congressman in 1938. However, it was not until 1960 that the South elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate - John Tower of Texas. As you can see by these dates, neither the 1964 Civil Rights Act nor Nixon's southern strategy had anything to do with these unprecedented Republican victories. In 1966, George Bush senior defeated a staunch segregationist in Texas, which doesn't sound like a backlash against the Civil Rights Act. Did Nixon have a southern strategy in 1968? Yes. Did Jimmy Carter go after Wallace voters in 1976? Yes. Nixon would have won without the southern states, but the same was not true for Jimmy Carter.

I have no idea if Martin Luther King was ever registered as a Republican - that seems plausible in light of Eisenhower's positions and actions on Civil Rights and Democrats' strong opposition to anti-lynching laws - but I do know Lyndon Johnson was one of the most crude racial bigots to ever hold national office, and it seems more than likely King was well aware of that. President Johnson told southern governors his plan for the Great Society was "to have them n---- voting Democratic for the next two hundred years." Johnson couldn't get there without first acceding to King's demands for the 14th and 15th Amendments to be stringently enforced by DOJ. As they say, politics can make for strange bed fellows, and both men got what they wanted from the other.

Proceed with your search for racist code words in Republican platforms. I'll stick with well researched opinions based on historical facts.

You cite one reference that you take as absolute truth...

I see it as one theory among many posited. I admit I am unfamiliar with these authors or their work, and their theory goes against the bitter grain of racial politics so I'm not surprised a Republican would so easily and readily accept it as truth.

If the change was very gradual I would be more open to accepting such a view, but the dramatic changes seen in the electoral politics of the 60's/70's (especially with Goldwater's campaign) and admissions by Republican strategists such as Atwa*er paint a picture of a more sudden than gradual transformation. Additionally, the racial politics view is supported by more than one book, so while you accept the one source that confirms what you would like to believe, I’ll accept what the preponderance of scholarly research points to despite the ugly conclusions it supports.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart