Even the ‘Moderate’ Conservative at the New York Times Can’t Describe the GOP Healthcare Plan

I have a cousin who posted this as his Facebook status this morning: “Sometimes I think, ‘this time David Brooks will write something that doesn’t make me want to punch him.’ And each time, I’m wrong.” I know the feeling.

Brooks has worked as a New York Times Op-Ed columnist since 2003, and while I appreciate that he is the paper’s purported moderate conservative voice and that all media outlets should strive for true “fair and balanced” representation, I join my cousin in his frustration. I am tired of being fooled by this guy. I do not pay for a New York Times digital subscription and it’s a waste to keep allotting any of my 10 free articles per month toward the writer.

Because the reality is that there’s nothing moderate or independent about Brooks’ ideology. Take this morning’s promising example. On the surface, to encounter a title like “A Choice, Not a Whine” seems to bode for real criticism. The headline carried this subtext: “Opponents of Obama’s health care law should stop venting about John Roberts and instead provide a credible alternative.”

Well then! A critical piece from Brooks that might clarify that Republican opposition to last week’s Supreme Court decision regarding the Affordable Healthcare Act isn’t wearing any clothes. Panderer extraordinaire Mitt Romney and his gang of GOP cronies have repeatedly claimed that, should Mittens be elected, they will repeal and replace Obamacare with….what? They won’t say, in the first place because specifics just can’t top the sort of general chest beating that has become the hallmark of Republican contrariness. The party of “no,” has had very little to say for itself beyond a simple negative for years now. It has worked well to a certain degree. The GOP was able to take over the House in the 2010 midterm elections with shockingly little to say for itself besides, “We don’t agree with anything the President says.”

In the second place, Republicans exist to uphold the status quo, the complex state of affairs that keeps siphoning money into the hands of corporations and the extremely wealthy while diminishing the prospects of the middle and underclasses. Pick an issue and look for the GOP’s corresponding cynicism: global warming is fake! Because energy companies are plying us with money to say so! Charter schools rule – forget about revamping public education! Because so many of the operations that provide these untested models of schooling are privately owned with excellent lobbyists!

And then there’s healthcare. For those of us looking to David Brooks to put his party (damn, I keep forgetting he’s independent) to the test, a click on this morning’s column yields this: “Critics of the bill shouldn’t be hating on Chief Justice Roberts. If they can’t make this case to the voters, they really shouldn’t be in public life. Moreover, there are alternatives. Despite what you’ve read, there is a coherent Republican plan.”

Let’s gloss over the fact that if the word has come from the pen of a middle-aged policy fart like Brooks, then “hating” has jumped the pop cultural lexicon shark, and cut to this supposed”coherent Republican plan.” Which is what?

Basically the same tired retread of non-specifics: patients should just say no to elaborate and/or endless procedures (because don’t we all know someone who gets mammograms and colonoscopies for giggles?), give people tax credits so they can purchase their own plans in a competitive, private marketplace. Then there are my two personal favorites: “Americans should be strongly encouraged to buy continuous coverage over their adulthood,” and “encourage experimentation in the states instead of restricting state flexibility.”

I have news for Mr. Brooks, the word “encourage” is rarely followed by concrete specifics. There is NO Republican plan for turning these ideas into reality. What makes you think you can delineate that which your fellow party members can only mumble?

7 Replies to “Even the ‘Moderate’ Conservative at the New York Times Can’t Describe the GOP Healthcare Plan”

  1. Ezra Klein, standing in for Rachel Maddow last night, did a segment on this GOP “plan”. Very enlightening – not a plan at all, as you so aptly pointed out, but then, why should they really have an alternative plan, since the ACA is pretty much the original GOP plan. It’s all about making “Obama a one term president” and the consequent obstructing of everything from the Democrats. The GOP plan that was put forward in the midst of developing the ACA would have benefited maybe 3000 of the currently uninsured citizens of the US – compared to 30,000+ who will benefit from the ACA.
    No, the ACA is far from perfect….. but then, the original SS was fraught will ills as well. Maybe the GOP will find a way to pull their heads out of their collective rears and work with the Dems to improve the ACA………….. and the moon might fall out of the sky

  2. It’s actually 30 million that will benefit from the Affordable care act, you said 30,000. an oversight I’m sure. I agree with your post, the Republicans have no plan what so ever. And we must do our best to get the truth out to people who have been mislead by Right-wing Republican obstructionists!!

  3. Mr. Brooks simply doesn’t WANT to describe teh GOP health care alternatives.

    During the 09-10 health care reform debate the GOP offered tax credits and a continuation of the status quo.

    Romney’s plan for health care is to offer all states waivers on Obamacare, and then let each state decide its own course of action. Obviously, this means that most states will return to the status quo ante.

    Abolition of the worst insurance practices, insurance exchanges to assure health care coverage for all and bending down the cost curve of medical care are mportant and real accomplishments and will be implemented under Obamacare.

    The GOP do not have the backbone to stand up for consumers and patients against the big for profit hospital and insurance companies that dominate health care.

  4. The expectation and Obama’s calculation at the beginning of debate on what became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), was that GOP moderates would support health care reform,too.

    Part of Obama’s silence in the early stages of the debate was to reconcile the Democrats who supported single payor to PPACA, but also to give the Republicans a chance to initiate negotiations based on their own ideas.

    Unfortunately, the GOP never entered into negotiations and remained aloof and obstructionary throughout the debate. This clearly is a purely political calculation.

    One can only wonder what good ideas for small business coverage, for individual coverage for the self-employed and what administrative clarifications the savvier business minded GOP members of Congress would have added to improve PPACA if they had participated.

    The sheen of a bipartisan approach would have added enormously to the legitimacy of PPACA.

    It is a shame the GOP UNANIMOUSLY opted to engage in a partisan battle instead of reforming our health care system for the benefit of the American people.

  5. The more I read, the more I am convinced that the GOP has no replacement plan, and doesn’t even WANT to have a plan. They’re fully under the thumb of the medical industrial complex and anything that smacks of diminishing returns for the complex is anathema to them and to their masters.

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