The Coming Health Care Battle


The Hill offers a preview of next year's inevitable health care skirmishes:

Republicans leaders in the House have pledged to hold an up-or-down vote to repeal the healthcare law President Obama signed last year.

Once passed, however, this bill will be dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Instead, the GOP is expected to try to withhold funding for the new law in the budget, hoping to impede its implementation.

Democrats will fight any defunding attempts aggressively; incoming House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the departing Speaker, has already signaled that protecting Democratic gains of the last two years — and healthcare reform is the signature domestic policy achievement of the Obama presidency — will be a top party priority.

While Democrats will likely back tweaks to the healthcare law, such as removing an unpopular IRS reporting requirement for small businesses, Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) will face pressure from Tea Party-backed freshmen to insist on deeper revisions or cuts. If the parties reach an impasse on healthcare funding, the GOP could use the issue as a bargaining chip to extract spending-cut concessions from Obama elsewhere in the budget.

Democrats convinced themselves early on that if they won the legislative battle and passed the bill, the law would become popular, and that the law's eventual popularity would help dampen Republican enthusiasm for fighting it. If anything, the opposite has happened. Polling indicates that the law has grown slightly less popular in recent months. That's going to continue to provide fuel for Republicans who want to shut it down. The GOP obviously won't be successful in repealing the law before 2012, but as The Hill's story notes, the law's unpopularity has given them an edge in legislative negotiation.

So from a purely political perspective, the health care overhaul has been nothing but a burden. Not only did the law fail to provide any boost at the polls in November as many Democrats expected, it's now put them in a weakened negotiating position as they're forced to defend it.

NEXT: Portugal's Drug Peace

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  1. Yes, all according to plan. *twirls mustache, polishes monocle*

  2. I’ll tell you what, it would be great if the GOP House would actually go to the mattresses on this one. Nothing passes without a full repeal. Nothing. They’d almost certainly win, as Obama would be blamed for trying to support an unpopular and almost certainly unconstitutional law.

    Naturally, nothing of the kind will happen.

    1. That’s the spirit!

      1. Yes – he should be more optimistic, considering the courage the Republicans showed in fighting stupid laws and excess spending when they were in power.

        1. The bunch in 1994 blinked over a similar challenge, and I think this bunch is, if anything, less principled.

          The GOP tried hard to keep the libertarian arm at bay (and largely succeeded) during the last election. Because a more libertarian GOP would mean fewer goodies for the party and its friends.

      2. Tell you what, though, if the GOP does engage in those kinds of epic battles and does at least something significant to limit government power, I’ll consider voting for more of their candidates.

        1. Pro L don’t you live in Hawaii and you are guaranteed HC? Doesn’t it have the lowest rates in the US?

          1. Hawaii? The closest I’ve ever been to Hawaii is Magnum P.I. I’m in Florida.

          2. “prolefeed” lives in Hawaii.

          3. Fuck, my obsessive-compulsive disorder is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand it gives me something to do (stalking people on the internet, uncontrollable masturbation), on the other hand it makes it a bit difficult to concentrate on names and such.

  3. Twirls mustache? Didn’t you tell me you got your first pubic hair last week?

    1. You must be confusing me with someone else.

  4. We had to pass it in order to hate it.

  5. If premiums almost double again next year, supporters might have more of a problem. But some creative regulation could keep them down until it’s too late.

  6. The obligatory “The Republicans are just as bad” disclaimer usally found in any Reason articles that either criticizes the dems or praise the GOP is refreshingly absent.

    1. Suderman seems to be coming around. The fact of the matter is that no matter how bad the Republicans are, and that’s plenty bad, the Democrats are worse.

      1. On this issue, at least, there is no doubt.

  7. We REALLY need the Repeal Amendment.

  8. While Democrats will likely back tweaks to the healthcare law, such as removing an unpopular IRS reporting requirement for small businesses

    That would have already passed in November had the Republicans not blocked it multiple times.

  9. There can be a difference between what you and a health insurance company consider healthy. Some insurers will say that you have a health condition if you smoke, are overweight, are taking prescriptions, or had a medical condition in the past. If this describes you, you may want to search and read “Wise Health Insurance” on the web.

  10. Many question marks hang over the idea of universal health care since there will still be people who refuse to contribute into a system from which not everyone will benefit.

  11. It will take time to see if it a benefit for the average person.

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