Not Just For Policy Wonks: Phil Klein’s ‘Overcoming ObamaCare’

By Grace-Marie Turner

It takes a journalist to clear the fog about Republican health policy alternatives. (Yes, they do have alternative plans.) In his new book, Overcoming ObamaCare, Philip Klein, who is the commentary editor of the Washington Examiner, presents a timely and accessible review of the three primary approaches that Republican officials and policy analysts are offering.

Klein acknowledges that Republicans failed to implement serious health reforms when they had control of the White House and of Congress during the George W. Bush administration, and the nation paid dearly when Democrats jammed their still-unpopular health law through when they had control of both branches of government in 2010.

He implicitly warns that if Republicans don’t come up with an alternative to ObamaCare, we could be saddled with ObamaCare’s “government takeover of health care” for good.

“During their time in the wilderness [after HillaryCare], smart liberals took lessons from their Clinton era defeat and refined their health care strategy in preparation for their next opening,” he writes. The book makes it clear that now is the time for conservatives to get to work coalescing around a plan.

Overcoming ObamaCare is a solid primer on conservative policy alternatives – a very useful tool especially for the army of conservatives elected to office in November who are intent on repealing, and in some cases replacing, ObamaCare.

Klein is a good student of conservative health policy, acknowledging “there’s one prominent area in which the U.S. does not have anything approaching a functioning consumer market, and where instead, the consumer is completely left in the dark, given few choices, elbowed out of the decision-making process by large bureaucracies, and given very little incentive to seek out the best deal. Unfortunately, this area accounts for $2.9 trillion in spending, representing more than one-sixth of the U.S. economy. I am, of course, referring to health care.”

As a former journalist, I am biased toward his clear, straightforward approach and his birds-eye reporting of the policy debate as it has unfolded in the political and policy realms.

Originally published on Forbes, February 4, 2015

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