Diane Black’s Bridge to Somewhere on Health Care

When Hillary Clinton unexpectedly lost, many Democrats made a fateful decision that circumstances and reality will force them to reconsider. Instead of agreeing to work with Republicans to protect families from the hardships of the failing Obamacare system, they decided to demagogue Republicans with a parade of horrible clichés.

Republicans, Democrats said, want to “Make America Sick Again.” Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned that if Republicans have their way families should expect to have “grandma living in the guest room.” Scary stuff.

What Democrats missed, however, is that patients already experienced Nancy Pelosi in the exam room and they found the experience wanting. That’s why voters decided to send her to the waiting room.

Enter a nurse with 45 years of experience, U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), who just became the first female chairman of the House Budget Committee. In her new position, Black will play an important role in guiding reconciliation legislation through Congress as early as March that will be begin the Obamacare rescue and recovery effort.

Rep. Black describes Obamacare as a collapsing bridge

I sat down with Black Wednesday, in her first interview since becoming chairman. Black describes Obamacare as a collapsing bridge (she credits her fellow Tennessean, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, with the apt analogy). The people on that bridge, which is “falling apart,” need to be rescued and protected, she explained, but we have to build a stable bridge beside it.

Black added this process has to be done carefully and “step by step.” This means the reform effort is going to be more of a process than a moment.

Most importantly, this process is going to protect patients and families. In the meantime, Black said, “We’re going to have that bridge so we can say to people, ‘please don’t worry that you’re not going to get care because there’s still going to be care out there.’”

Black and her colleagues also know that a big part of their job is to get out of the way. Much of the real work of reform is to facilitate the development of a healthy health care market that is patient-centered and encourages competition and state-based innovation. President Obama built a wall between doctors and patients and forced taxpayers to pay for it. Black, a nurse, will work in tandem with the new Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, a doctor, to tear down this wall. Because of their real-world experience, Black and Price both know that health care is about more than mere insurance. It’s about relationships, as the new One Nation Health Coalition explains here.

President Obama built a wall between doctors and patients and forced taxpayers to pay for it. Black, a nurse, will work in tandem with the new Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, a doctor, to tear down this wall.

In many respects, Obamacare itself is a pre-existing for millions of patients because it increases cost and reduces access. As the House GOP’s “A Better Way” policy explains, “President Obama promised that premiums would decline by $2,500 per year; instead, average premiums in job-based coverage increased by $3,775.”

Black also noted the Obamacare forced state-based programs to shut down. In her home state of Tennessee, 28,000 individuals in programs like CoverKids, CoverTN, AccessTN and CoverRX were adversely affected because of Obamacare. A local news station reported, “Those safety net programs are a casualty of Obamacare.”

Black also noted the Obamacare forced state-based programs to shut down.

With people like Diane Black leading the health reform effort, Democrats are going to have a tougher time pretending that Republicans are plotting to take away people’s insurance or deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Black and Speaker Ryan are right. Obamacare is collapsing. Thankfully, Black and her colleagues have a plan and are building a bridge to somewhere on health care.

 

John Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter @johnhart333.