Deroy Murdock: GOP should 'Make Obamacare voluntary'By DEROY MURDOCK
November 16. 2017 8:29PM
Congress should adopt a fine idea that President Trump offered — and give it a better name.
“Now, how about ending the unfair & highly unpopular Indiv Mandate in OCare & reducing taxes even further?” Trump tweeted Monday. “Cut top rate to 35% w/all of the rest going to middle income cuts?”
Trump’s suggestion would give Republicans another chance to lasso Obamacare and unleash $338 billion for fresh tax cuts. This unexpected infusion would let Republicans alleviate or eliminate key shortcomings in their competing bills:
The House draft keeps today’s top 39.6 percent top rate and, outrageously, adds a new 45.6 percent “Bubble Tax” bracket on incomes between $1.2 million and $1.6 million.
The Senate blueprint would cut corporate taxes from 35 percent to 20 — not next year, but in 2019. This is a recipe for recession. Many businesses would postpone income for 12 months so they could savor this 43-percent tax reduction. The last thing America needs is one more year of Obama-style stagnation.
Both chambers fail to kill the much-hated death tax immediately. The House keeps it alive for six years. The Senate chickens out and merely raises the income threshold on what Steve Forbes calls “taxation without respiration.”
“Currently, the law requires every working-age American to buy health insurance — or pay a penalty equal to 2.5 percent of household income or about $700, whichever is greater,” U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., wrote last month at FoxNews.com. “Almost 6.7 million households were forced to pay the penalty last year,” they added. “Nearly 80 percent of Americans who paid the penalty last year made less than $50,000.” Thus, this proposal would deliver middle-class tax relief.
“The mandate is simply a tax on Americans who can’t afford insurance,” Toomey and Cotton continued. “This is a moral outrage, and the public agrees: 66 percent of Americans oppose the mandate, according to a 2017 YouGov poll.”
Democrats and their media henchmen wail that mandate repeal would make 13 million people lose their health insurance. This is a lie. The Congressional Budget Office reckons that these Americans would flee Obamacare if they no longer were dragooned into it. Likewise, if Acme University made a required calculus course voluntary, students who spurned that class would not “lose calculus.” They simply would exercise their new-found freedom to escape useless mathematical sadism.
Once unshackled, CBO believes, individuals who run from Obamacare would stop collecting its subsidies. The unclaimed $338 billion could underwrite additional tax cuts through 2027.
“This is a political fight the GOP can win,” the Wall Street Journal explained Monday. “If you like your Obamacare plan, you can keep it. If you don’t want it or can’t afford it, you don’t have to pay a penalty.”
“I love getting rid of the mandate. It makes no sense,” supply-side godfather Dr. Arthur Laffer told Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer Wednesday morning. “If someone decides they don’t want Obamacare — ‘I don’t want it’ — then you get taxed. Well, this (measure) takes away this tax, which allows you free choice...So, I see no downside, whatsoever, to getting rid of the mandate. I think that’s wonderful.”
Republicans should sell this concept with a simple slogan: “Make Obamacare voluntary.”
“Repeal the Obamacare mandate” sounds to the untrained ear as if Republicans were prying life-saving pills from the fingers of the terminally ill. As demonstrated above, this is not so.
To make this even more appealing, Republicans should say that their plan would “Make Obamacare voluntary.” By killing the first-ever federal requirement that anybody buy anything, Republicans would emancipate millions: Those who want Obamacare may have it. Those who don’t may go elsewhere.
Re-christening “Repeal the Obamacare mandate” as “Make Obamacare voluntary” will land Republicans on the moral and rhetorical high ground. Let Democrats defend a federal law that forces Americans to buy something they do not want and taxes those who resist.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online.