Support for Barack Obama’s healthcare agenda has reached a new nadir, confirming the adage that familiarity breeds contempt toward his misguided proposal. Do Conservatives Offer a Healthcare Alternative? Meet Paul Ryan

Support for Barack Obama’s healthcare agenda has reached a new nadir, confirming the adage that familiarity breeds contempt toward his misguided proposal.

According to Rasmussen Reports, a 53 percent majority of American voters now oppose the plan by Obama and Congressional Democrats to commandeer fully one-sixth of our economy, a nine-point increase in opposition since June. In contrast, support for ObamaCare has declined to 42 percent, which constitutes a five-point drop in just two weeks and an eight-point drop since June.

Ominously for Obama, 44 percent of voters “strongly oppose” his plan, whereas only 26 percent “strongly favor” it. In other words, opponents maintain substantially more intensity and momentum than proponents going forward in this debate. Furthermore, troubling news for Obama lies in the fact that 62 percent of independent voters oppose his scheme, with fully 51 percent of them stating that they’re strongly opposed.

Faced with this inconvenient reality, Obama is losing his mythical cool and resorting to the very type of hyperpartisan shrillness that he promised to end when he was a candidate.

At the same time that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was stooping to Nazi references and labeling everyday citizens “un-American,” Obama himself resorted to questioning the motives and integrity of anyone who questions his self-righteous vision. His administration even went so far as to instruct Americans to report fellow citizens to a White House website.

Obama’s bitter desperation is understandable, considering the fact that he made healthcare legislation a centerpiece of his entire campaign. During a 2007 speech before a pre-primary New Hampshire audience, he boldly pledged that, “I believe that by the end of my first term in office, we will have a universal healthcare system instituted in this country. That is a commitment that I’ve made, and it is a commitment I want to be held accountable for.”

Out of frustration, Obama has resorted to his increasingly-common habit of straw man argumentation. In a remarkably un-Presidential weekly Saturday radio address, he broadly labeled opponents mere “defenders of the status quo,” afraid to acknowledge that alternative proposals exist.

This tactic surely emanates from the bowels of his polling office, which has advised him that although Americans increasingly disfavor ObamaCare, they suspect that conservatives are mere obstructionists and offer no healthcare alternative of their own. So Obama parrots this theme while his own agenda founders.

But this is not true, and Obama knows it.

Senator Tom Coburn (R – Oklahoma), himself a physician who knows a thing or two about the healthcare system, has teamed with Senator Richard Burr (R – North Carolina), Congressmen Paul Ryan (R – Wisconsin) and Devin Nunes (R – California) to introduce the “Patients’ Choice Act of 2009.” Congressman Ryan, the thirty-nine-year-old former associate of Jack Kemp, has quickly become the face of this conservative alternative.

Where ObamaCare seeks to slowly bureaucratize our entire healthcare sector, thereby doing for medicine what the federal government has done to our public schools, Amtrak, ethanol and the Post Office, the Patients’ Choice Act seeks to reform our healthcare system via market competition and patient choice.

And unlike ObamaCare, this conservative alternative would finally bring much-needed tort reform to lower healthcare costs. Currently, our jackpot jury litigation industry forces American doctors to waste as much as $200 billion in unnecessary defensive procedures and inflated malpractice insurance costs. By creating six-person expert dispute resolution panels composed of experienced judges and medical professionals, the Patients’ Choice Act would reform the endless and expensive medical malpractice system that only benefits trial lawyers.

This act would also lower costs by allowing interstate purchase of insurance. Currently, many states dictate what insurance companies must cover, instead of allowing individual citizens to freely choose their coverage options. These states prohibit citizens from purchasing out-of-state insurance policies that offer less-expensive alternatives, reflecting the power of special interests and powerful lobbyists to impose mandates such as chiropractic care or psychological counseling for people who have no desire or need to purchase such coverage.

The Patients’ Choice Act would also increase consumer coverage through a refundable tax credit of $2300 per individual and $5700 per family. It would also increase the amount that health savings account (HSA) owners can contribute to their accounts, allow HSA dollars to pay insurance premiums and allow preventative services to be covered by high-deductible insurance plans.

Although Americans can be forgiven for accepting Obama’s canard that conservatives offer no alternative, it’s simply not true.

And with the help of Congressman Ryan, an increasing media favorite who provides a young, vibrant, optimistic persona to the conservative movement, Americans will become increasingly familiar with the Patients’ Choice Act. Through it, we can achieve much-needed healthcare reform through the forces that have made America the most prosperous nation in human history – the free market and individual choice, not big government.

August 20, 2009
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