(Deroy Murdock, Liberty Headlines) Republican senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have found a new cure for the GOP’s legislative dysfunction on ObamaCare. The Texan and Utahan often have waved their pro-market pitchforks, even at the expense of Republican consensus. However, their Consumer Freedom Option may unite the Senate’s fractious GOP majority behind ObamaCare repeal and replacement.
“The Consumer Freedom Option simply says that if an insurance company sells in a given state a plan that is consistent with the Title I mandates,” Cruz told Texas radio host Mark Davis, “that company can also sell any other insurance plan consumers desire.”
“We’ve got to do something to reinject free-market forces into this environment,” Lee said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation. “If we can bring free-market forces to bear, we can bring down costs for middle Americans.”
Cruz and Lee want to free, say, Aetna to offer low-cost, low-frills coverage to those who do not need spruced-up plans. This could include the younger, healthier people who have fled ObamaCare, seeing little reason to pay piles of cash that they do not have for more coverage than they need. Childless adults, no surprise, spurn surreal ObamaCare plans that must include pediatric dental coverage for kids who do not exist. Under Cruz and Lee, premium payments from these younger, healthier policy holders — who usually need less medical care — will help offset the cost of covering frillier ObamaCare plans.
“We’ve got to lower premiums, and the way you lower premiums is you give the consumers freedom to choose the health insurance plan that they want without the government mandates,” Cruz told WBAP radio’s Chris Salcedo.
Pro-patient reformers generally applaud this proposal.
- “After almost a decade of promising to repeal Obamacare, it’s time for Republican senators to put their money where their mouths are and get it done,” said Club for Growth president David McIntosh. “At a bare minimum, Congress should not stand in the way of allowing Americans who want to opt out of Obamacare to do so. And that’s why it’s so important that the new Senate Obamacare repeal bill include the Lee-Cruz Consumer Freedom Option, which would allow individuals to opt out of Obamacare’s costly regulations.”
- “I support Cruz’s and Lee’s idea,” Pacific Research Institutepresident Sally Pipes tells me. “Giving people the freedom to choose a plan that meets their needs and that they can afford is the best solution today.” The author of The Way Out of ObamaCareadded, “The American people voted in November for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. The law is in a ‘death spiral’ and needs to be replaced. Continuing with Obamacare Lite will be a disaster and will ultimately lead to a single payer, ‘Medicare for All’ system where there will be long waits for care, and it will be rationed. It is time to do the right thing.”
Democrats love the idea of adding a “public option” (i.e. voluntary socialized medicine) to any health-reform measure. Cruz and Lee should call their idea “the private option.” If some Americans want medical coverage without Uncle Sam standing in examination rooms, between doctors and their patients, Cruz and Lee would offer them that opportunity.
In a sense, this concept is the medical equivalent of school choice:
Democrats and the Left want to keep everyone in both collapsing government systems. If people escape rotten government schools and actually learn in the private schools, Democrats and their socialist model look bad, and those employed in it might lose their iron rice bowls. So, liberals demand that no one leave their Animal Farm.
Of course, their entire argument collapses when confronted with this question: “If your system is so great, why would you worry that someone might leave?”
If ObamaCare is as spectacular as Democrats claim, consumers will skin up their noses at Ted Cruz’s and Mike Lee’s other options. Let’s make Americans free to choose the Obama/Pelosi/ Schumer model or the Cruz/Lee alternatives.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online.