Green Room

The Long Game On Obamacare Repeal

posted at 2:14 pm on November 26, 2012 by

Last week, when John Boehner proclaimed Obamacare the “law of the land,” conservatives reacted with the same off-with-his-head comments they do whenever they perceive caving to be taking place. But Boehner and the Republicans in the House don’t seem to be caving on their view of Obamacare. They just seem to be altering their tactics, considering the political landscape that the country faces now.

Whether we want to believe it or not, Barack Obama will be president for four more years, and will not sign any repeal that makes it through the House and Senate. And believing that any repeal bill would even get brought up for a vote in a Senate is a bigger fantasy than believing the Arab Spring will turn out just fine. So how do we continue to fight this battle, knowing as we do that Obamacare is bad law, bad policy, bad health care, and bad, bad, bad for the U.S. economy? Two fronts.

First, the House Ways And Means Committee will have to take a large role in the next few years overseeing the implementation process. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has already balked at providing information and documentation to the committee, and hearings are going to have to ramp up. In a Politico article this morning, Speaker Boehner is quoted as saying in a letter to fellow Republicans earlier this month, “I’ve long maintained there are three possible routes to repeal of ObamaCare: the courts, the presidential election, and our constitutional responsibility for oversight,” Boehner wrote in a letter to House Republicans earlier this month. “With two of them having come up short, the third and final of these becomes more important than ever.”

He’s right. Stunt votes of repeal, knowing it will go nowhere in the Senate, will not do this time. The bill is 2,000 pages of fraud and bureaucracy, and Congress has to do the best they can to pick away at it, and the Caucus has to continue making the case to the American people that the program will eventually collapse under its own weight, and we’ve said all along there’s a better way, and this is what that way forward should be. Unless, of course, the Supreme Court takes another bite at the Obamacare apple and strikes it down.

As Ed wrote earlier on Hot Air, just because the election is over, the legal challenges to Obamacare have not gone away at all, and with a piece of legislation this massive, that is this overarching, it can’t help but raise significant Constitutional challenges the deeper you get into the implementation process. It’s a rotten onion, and it stinks more with every layer you peel back. Alliance Defending Freedom has at least one challenge pending that has a pathway to the Supreme Court regarding the HHS regulations, and Fox News talked to Jordan Sekulow about another similar challenge coming, this time from Hobby Lobby.


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The road to repeal has gotten considerably longer and narrower. But this is another battle on which conservatives, despite the odds, should stand their ground and fight. Either we believe in our core principles of adherence to the 1st Amendment, and limited government, and individual choice, or we don’t. And if we don’t, we’re not a serious political movement any longer.

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From what I’ve seen, as a result of the increased costs of ObamaCare (as well as the penalties for Cadillac plans), a lot of companies are getting rid of traditional health care coverage and moving to health savings accounts / high deductible coverage (with, obviously, the “free” preventative care). While the ObamaCare means to this is awful, seems that this is a good result for both getting the people to realize the true costs of their services and self-rationing care. I’ve only anecdotal evidence of this effect – would love to see statistical confirmation or rebuttal.

besser tot als rot on November 26, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Do not fund it.

rbj on November 26, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Actually, obamacare effectively bans HSA/high-deductible plans,by dictating that insurance companies cover some minimum percentage of all healthcare costs. so if you are healthy and never burn through your deductible,your plan suddenly doesnt qualify.

I agree that such plans are the right way to go,economically.

Mohonri on November 26, 2012 at 3:05 PM

This won’t settle along religious lines. It will settle along the lines of the McCain/Feingold law.

First, the SPC is not in the business of restricting our electoral stupidity. Roberts attempted to explain that over and over, and we still get mad at him from not stopping us from offending again. Like a serial killer leaving a note saying “stop me before I kill again.”

It isn’t their job. Their job is narrow. To make sure they don’t get in the way of the intent of the voters, which is illuminated by their representatives, legally elected (or not), passing laws on their behalf.

Vetting stupid harmful laws from “good” laws would be a slope nobody wants the SPC to go down.

So, what to do? Let the stupid, harmful, damaging legislation to go through. THEN, when it actually harms a citizen, slap a limitation on it that basically cripples it into extinction or makes the legislators redo the law- this time in the light of day and in front of everyone.

This is what happened. You can parse it to death, but Roberts is no fool nor progressive. He is trying to ride down a very thin rail. His first attempt in getting us to recalculate our decision was to put it out there for Romney and Obama do debate. I’m sure Roberts is as disappointed in our selfishness as many of us are.

However, here is the rub I’m waiting for. If the States- now given power by Roberts in his decision- refuse to go along with exchanges, then how does the IRS get around the letter of the law. They can try. But that will end up in court and they will lose.

Then there is the concept of equal protection and treatment under the law for all citizens. If one State operates an exchange and another does not- thus harming the citizens in the non-participating State- is that constitutional.

I’ll argue no. And I’m sure there will be more than one SPC judge who will agree.

Obamatax is a nightmare that may not ever be solved without major rework. Roberts knows this. Obama’s people are just charging ahead, with no idea where they are going or what they are doing, hoping it all clears up in the end.

It probably won’t.

archer52 on November 26, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Do not fund it.

rbj on November 26, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Then he won’t sign it and we will have a ‘government shutdown.’

When the government shuts down, the Executive Branch (that’s Obama) decides on which of the mandated spending programs the ongoing tax revenues coming into the Treasury will be spent.

The last one to be cut would be Obamacare. Which means it won’t be cut, no matter what.

Game over, at least on that front. We could have done it with Harry Reid still Majority Leader in the Senate, but not with Obama in the WH.

fadetogray on November 26, 2012 at 4:41 PM

And here I am still playing the long game on social security and Medicare repeal.

Revenant on November 26, 2012 at 4:44 PM

War is comming…..Prepare for it.

The Federl government are no better than common thieves that steal your wallet from your dresser at night.

Well, some people shoot thieves dead.

Tyrany is here…the government has granted unto itself powers not given by the people.

God’s Laws apply to everyone…thou shalt not steal.

dirtengineer on November 26, 2012 at 4:49 PM

archer52 on November 26, 2012 at 3:12 PM

First – and I will go to my grave saying this – the mandate to force the individual into a contract with another non-consenting party against their wills is unconstitutional. End of story.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say your analysis of Roberts’ decision is correct. And let us also presume that the law itself is so massive and flawed that it will collapse of its own weight, and that legal challenges on other aspects that come up will be affirmed.

HOWEVER, this presupposes that we have a Congress, an executive branch and judiciary that is interested and willing to follow the rules that the Founders laid out. The past 4 years have shown time and again that this is not the case. We have elected officials who rule, but do not govern.

They will circumvent or ignore the Constitution at every opportunity. I’m afraid that in a sane world your analysis may be right but we are no longer in that world.

Rixon on November 26, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Another possibility is that people will simply refuse to comply, which is what caused the repeal of Prohibition. And Prohibition was an actual Constitutional amendment. Look for an underground medical system to develop, most likely run by the Mafia, and for medical speakeasies to deliver cash services with no reporting to the govt. goons.

devan95 on November 26, 2012 at 5:30 PM

To fadetogray:
Then we counter with a nation-wide taxpayer strike, starting with the refusal to make quarterly payments. Then get people to decrease their paycheck tax withholding and stop giving the commies interest free loans. Then threaten to put all fed income tax payments in escrow. We only need to get organized…..

devan95 on November 26, 2012 at 5:40 PM