Posted on 09-11-2010
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The last year saw increasing numbers of Republicans embrace the tea party’s cause of repealing “Obamacare.”  Feelings towards the law are mixed.  However, just as many people remain woefully ignorant that Barack Obama actually cut taxes or that almost 40% of the $700 billion dollar stimulus bill was larded with useless tax cuts in a futile attempt to get Republican support, public awareness of what actually constitutes Obamacare is low.  As Ezra Klein notes, when you get to the individual components of the bill most of them enjoy broad public support.  It is a pattern similar to the cause of cutting government expenses, where the devil is in the details and deficit peacocks continue to tie themselves in knots in identifying meaningful cuts.

The most unpopular component of the bill is the individual mandate.  Interestingly enough it was the one major policy disagreement between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries.  Clinton wanted one, Obama did not.  However, faced with the free rider problem he changed his mind after assuming office.  With insurance companies forbidden to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions they supported the mandate.  Keeping that restriction in place without a mandate could also lead to an explosion of health care costs.

For a total repeal of Obamacare to happen, Republicans will have to make the pre-existing coverage requirement unpopular.  Not surprisingly windbags like Rush Limbaugh have started equating the rule to welfare.  It will be interesting to see if the dittoheads follow the corpulent pied piper like lemmings to support such a cause near and dear to health insurance companies.  David Frum exiled to conservative Siberia for daring to suggest that the passage of Obamacare was a disaster for Republicans expects a lot of posturing with little action from the Republicans.  Meanwhile Richard Cohen notes that Republicans continue to further the delusion that our bloated and inefficient healthcare system is the best in the world – American exceptionalism run amuck.

Ultimately the likeliest avenue for the repeal of Obamacare will come from the conservative majority on the Supreme Court (needless to say the right wing and the Federalist Society will not treat such an action overruling Congress as “activist”) not the Republicans in Congress.

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