July 12th, 2012

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first principles

It never really occurred to me to ask the question until I recently encountered someone who's answer differed from mine. To me the answer was a "first principle" as intrinsic as mathematical law.

In hindsight this was a gross oversight on my part.

Now obviously in an ideal world all people would make noble intelligent decision for noble intelligent reasons and the results of those choices would be exactly those that were intended.

That said, we don't live in an ideal world, so given a choice between valuing intent and valuing outcome...
Poll #1853516 Intent

...which is more important?

Intentions are less important than outcome.
25(45.5%)
Intentions and outcome are equally important.
24(43.6%)
Intentions are more important than outcome.
6(10.9%)

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Change of tactics?

Do you think there's a point at which the Republicans have to change their tactics via health care? At the moment, they're fired up about repeal, and that makes sense given the current opinion and the impending election.

But let's say that Obama wins a second term (and that the House and Senate aren't 2/3 controlled by Republicans). Does the GOP continue to completely oppose AHA and support only repeal, waiting another 4 years to try again? That seems like a very dangerous gambit politically, since by the 2016 election many of the provisions of AHA will have been in effect for two years, meaning that repealing the law will actually result in health care being yanked away from people, including people who normally vote Republican. At the moment the GOP has very little to offer in the "replace" category but the usual "lower taxes and regulation and hope everything works out". This isn't so bad for them in the short term because if Romney does win, they can attempt to repeal AHA before a lot of its provisions come into effect (assuming Congress has the right makeup as well). But long term I don't know if that's a viable strategy.

It's also tricky because AHA provides direct, tangible benefits -- the proponents can say "You will have health care, and here's what is in the bill to make sure you get it." All of the GOP suggestions involve things that will hopefully make it easier and cheaper to get insurance through the private market (and to bring down health care costs), but they can't guarantee that it will happen. It seems like this also makes it difficult to repeal AHA if it gets to a point where people have actually been benefiting directly from it for two years.

Is there a point at which the GOP needs to abandon the "repeal only" strategy and start to see if they can amend or modify AHA or take other steps to reduce health care costs?