Now that Jim Graves has officially announced that he’s running against Michele Bachmann, people wonder if he can defeat her. John Stossel’s article highlights Graves’ weakness:

Most Americans, even those who are legislators, know very little about the details of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, so-called Obamacare. Next year, when it goes into effect, we will learn the hard way.

Many people lazily assume that the law will do roughly what it promises: give insurance to the uninsured and lower the cost of health care by limiting spending on dubious procedures.

Don’t count on it.

Consider just the complexity: The act itself is more than 906 pages long, and again and again in those 906 pages are the words, “the Secretary shall promulgate regulations …”

“Secretary” refers to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. Her minions have been busy. They’ve already added 20,000 pages of rules. They form a stack 7 feet high, and more are to come.

A couple of weeks after announcing his candidacy last time, Graves made an appearance at a weekly gathering at a St. Cloud bar to visit with conservatives. During that visit, he stopped past my table, at which time I asked him if he supported the PPACA. Though he stopped short of endorsing that specific legislation, he did attempt to sell the ACA as market-driven health insurance reform. More on that later.

The thing is that legislators don’t vote on sweeping principles. Legislators vote on specific legislation. Since there’s no chance that Graves would’ve been one of the legislators shaping the legislation, he would’ve been forced to vote yea or nay on the ACA.

Thanks to Graves’ insistence on not getting pinned down to anything, we don’t know if he would’ve voted for the PPACA. What we know, though, is that he’s attempting to not talk about the ACA. His issues page includes this line:

But today, too many Minnesotan families are struggling under the weight of rising home mortgage payments, skyrocketing health care costs and increasing college tuition.

The only other reference to health care on Jim Graves’ issues page is about the Medicare Part D doughnut hole. I don’t blame Graves for evading the issue. If I were a Democrat, I’d want to evade talking about health care. Stossel’s article provides the reason why the PPACA is a touchy subject for Democrats:

Government likes to think regulations can account for every possibility. Injured at a chicken coop? The code for that will be Y9272. Fall at an art gallery? That means you are a Y92250. There are three different codes for walking into a lamppost — depending on how often you’ve walked into lampposts. This is supposed to give government a more precise way to reimburse doctors for treating people and alert us to surges in injuries that might inspire further regulation.

On Government-Planned World, this makes sense. But it will be no more successful than Soviet central planning.

Compare all that to a tiny part of American medicine that is still free-market: Lasik eye surgery.

Its quality has improved, while costs dropped 25 percent. Lasik (and cosmetic surgery) are specialties that provide a better consumer experience because they are a market. Patients pay directly, so doctors innovate constantly to please them. Lasik doctors even give patients their cellphone numbers.

Mr. Graves isn’t foolish. He knows what constitutes a free market. He knows that the ACA is the opposite of a free market solution.

Michele Bachmann has been right about this issue from the outset. She submitted the first bill to repeal the ACA and replace it with a specific plan. Michele’s plan included eliminating the preferential tax treatment for corporations buying health insurance by giving individuals the same tax treatment that multinational corporations get. As a result of that provision, Michele’s plan made health care portable, which is a huge liberating force for employees.

While we don’t know what Graves’ solution to health care is, we know with certainty that Michele got it right with health insurance reform the first time. When Democrats are in the minority, talk immediately focuses on compromise. Minnesotans in the Sixth District have the choice of voting for an evasive man or voting for someone who got health care reform right the first time.

With health insurance premiums skyrocketing since enacting the PPACA, why would Minnesotans vote for someone who dodges the issue? Why wouldn’t they vote for the candidate who got it right the first time?

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2 Responses to “Jim’s Grave?”

  • Chad Q says:

    Rising home mortgages? Interest rates are at their lowest point in my life. Now health care and tuition costs skyrocketing are the result of liberal intervention into that “free market” Mr. Graves speaks of. Graves is just another guy who thinks he can spend our money better than we can.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Chad, that’s a good catch. Then again, Mr. Graves is filled with happy talk & DFL chanting points. He’s no more a “new Democrat” than Barney Frank is. BTW, Barney Frank a) helped cause the credit meltdown & b) hosted a fundraiser for Mr. Graves.

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