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Obamacare disaster should unite the Right, not divide it

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Hugh Hewitt,Columnists,Barack Obama,Obamacare,Rush Limbaugh,Analysis,Conservatism

If it was a fight, they'd stop it; a play and it would close. If it was a Little League game, the mercy rule would be invoked.

But because it is Obamacare, it goes on and on, a bureaucratic plague, touching, infecting and killing all parts of the health care system, some quickly, others slowly and terribly.

Miss a day of headlines, and you miss another set of casualties. On Friday, for example, UnitedHealthCare dropped thousands of doctors from their Medicare Advantage program.

Every day, another disastrous ripple out from the Obamacare meteor strike of early 2010.

Undoing the damage will take years and at least two elections. The contests of 2010 and 2012 were fought without voters knowing anything about Obamacare except the advertising jingles and the smiling testimonies of those who were paid to produce the ads.

The 2014 and 2016 elections will be referenda. And about these elections there is a huge debate.

Rush Limbaugh articulated one position with great force on his Nov. 14 program: Stand back, GOP, and do nothing. Have absolutely nothing to do with this disaster, GOP, you cannot help, so do not try.

I was persuaded by Rush and said so on my show, arguing that the only delay worth having was one that postponed everything until 2017 and criticizing the House GOP for developing the law without input and not having it online.

Also on Nov. 14, I hosted House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan on air, one of the Hill's genuinely nicest, most thoughtful and experienced legislators and the author of the proposed law bearing his name that authorizes insurers to keep selling their old non-Obamacare compliant policies. The transcript of that conversation is here.

The congressman corrected me and assured me that his bill that had just passed had indeed been online and available to be read for days in advance of the vote.

"You could have gone to my website, you could have gone to Thomas, the House system," he assured me." My fault, I agreed. Objection withdrawn. Suggestion going forward: Push draft law out everywhere and early.

To Rush's criticism, the chairman responded that "it would have been nice if [Rush] had maybe checked in with us and gotten information. We had a lot of groups, Club for Growth and others, endorse our bill."

Some thoughts on this. First, Upton made a powerful point that all but four GOP congressmen voted for the bill because the distress of millions of real people is enormous and they are demanding relief, not political posturing.

Second, it is not good for the conservative media and the House leadership to be at odds. Period.

Third, Rush makes a lot of political weather — a lot — and it would be nice if the House GOP leadership routinely briefed him on what they are doing and why they are doing it.

He will still go his own way and think his own thoughts but the phone rings in EIB southern command.

Some senior congressional leaders do this routinely with all sorts of conservative media, including me and my colleagues on the Salem radio network, Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Janet Mefferd.

The legislators aren't seeking approval, they are avoiding misunderstanding and, crucially, sometimes seeking input. Others never do it, and they should start.

Obamacare is a terrible crisis, a threat to the national health, and not just in its cost but in its assault on human freedom and free enterprise.

Battling it -- winning 2014 and 2016 -- requires a vast coalition of the willing, which requires open and extended communication and a pause if not an end to the intra-conservative warfare. Soon. Perhaps today.

HUGH HEWITT, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio show host who blogs daily at HughHewitt.com.
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