I know some of you want to believe in the current Republican Party, but take a look at this excert from Dale Steinreich's excellent article on Mises.org (below). This is your Republican Party -- if the Dems don't get you, your own party will.
"Obamacare," or More Accurately, ConservativeRepublicanCare
When you actually look at the bill itself, it incorporates all sorts of Republican ideas … a lot of the ideas in terms of the exchange, just being able to pool and improve the purchasing power of individuals in the insurance market, originated from the Heritage Foundation. (Barack Obama, NBC's Today Show, March 30, 2010)
The latest chapter in US healthcare is one of the most surreal. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 was signed into law by Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. Among many provisions, the act includes expanded Medicaid eligibility, prohibiting denials of coverage for preexisting conditions, and a requirement to purchase federally approved health insurance or pay a fine.
While the content of the Act is summarized in myriad places, much more interesting is its conservative Republican origins. The Heritage Foundation's Stuart Butler, the intellectual behind urban enterprise zones, in Senate testimony in 2003 proposed a plan for universal healthcare coverage. Here's one surprising portion of the testimony that sounds like it was uttered by a European socialist:
In a civilized and rich country like the United States, it is reasonable for society to accept an obligation to ensure that all residents have affordable access to at least basic health care — much as we accept the same obligation to assure a reasonable level of housing, education and nutrition.
Keep in mind that Butler is the conservative Heritage's current vice president of domestic and economic policy. No wonder Butler seems to have found a new admirer in New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Butler again:
The obligations on individuals does not have to be a "hard" mandate, in the sense that failure to obtain coverage would be illegal. It could be a "soft" mandate, meaning that failure to obtain coverage could result in the loss of tax benefits and other government entitlements. In addition, if federal tax benefits or other assistance accompanied the requirement, states and localities could receive the value of the assistance forgone by the person failing to obtain coverage, in order to compensate providers who deliver services to the uninsured family.
Now "Obamacare" is certainly more than just a mandate, but the mandate is certainly what has conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, both of whom have connections to, if not sponsorship by, the Heritage Foundation, screaming bloody murder the most. There's no doubt that these ideas influenced Mitt Romney's healthcare plan in Massachusetts.
Romney subjected himself to a recent interview by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly that can only be described as a disaster. O'Reilly dwelled on the fact that outside tax dollars funded half of the plan, and Romney agreed, adding that the funding was approved by two conservative Republican HHS secretaries, Tommy Thompson and Mike Leavitt. In response to a question, Romney admitted that he didn't know that emergency-room costs in Massachusetts had increased 17% over the last two years. He repeatedly asserted that the plan solved a problem, but he couldn't specify what it was since Massachusetts had the highest per capita costs both before the plan and after.
As far as other conservative Republicans go, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has repeatedly stated that he sees "some good things" in Obamacare, especially the expanded use of Medicaid.
Voters naïve enough to think they will get a complete repeal from the Republican Party appear to be in for a major disappointment. "Obamacare," with its continuance of socialized costs for private gains in American medicine, was the treatment that the conservative Republican doctor had in mind for some time. The problem is that the Democrats were the first to implement it.