Repealing Obamacare

John R. Graham
The Washington Times

Responding to polls that show a majority of Americans dissatisfied with Obamacare, Congressional Republicans are committed to repealing the bill. This is good: The people are right that Obamacare will increase costs while putting the federal government in charge of medical decisions. But Americans dissatisfied with the Democrats’ federal takeover of health care have reason to doubt whether the Republicans have the political will to provide a real alternative. Their performance in the last 14 years leads to skepticism.

In 1996, Newt Gingrich’s first term as speaker, the House of Representatives passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by a vote of 421-2, with even Nancy Pelosi on board. The Senate passed it unanimously by 98-0. HIPAA was a triumph of bipartisanship rivaled only by the declaration of war against Japan after Pearl Harbor.

In his signing statement, President Clinton said the measure “will set into motion several key reforms. First, it will eliminate the possibility that individuals can be denied coverage because they have a preexisting medical condition. Second, it will require insurance companies to sell coverage to small employer groups and to individuals who lose group coverage without regard to their health risk status. Finally, it will require insurers to renew the policies they sell to groups and individuals.”

Obviously, if HIPAA had fully solved those problems, health reform would not be where it is today. Years later, leading Republican Rep. Dick Armey concluded that the bill was a mistake, crafted in a legislative panic. “It turned out that HIPAA did little to make insurance more portable, but it did set a dangerous precedent for the federal regulation of health insurance,” said Mr. Armey. The figures back him up.

This article continues at The Washington Times.

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