Saying that Obamacare won’t be repealed or defunded as long as Democrats control the presidency and Senate doesn’t mean that there will never be any opportunity for Republicans to make changes to the law. Should they regain power, and if Obamacare is the failure that many of us expect, there will be a chance for a future Republican Senate and president to re-open it to changes (though full repeal remains a remote prospect once people start receiving subsidies). To regain power, however, Republicans must get elected, and must make sure that the health care law remains unpopular.
There are a number of ways to go about this. One thing that the House has already done is focus on how the Obama administration delayed the mandate for big business to provide health insurance, while the individual mandate (promoted by the insurance industry) remains.
An idea I proposed is to use the budget battle to highlight the fact that the Obama administration delayed anti-fraud measures meant to ensure that hundreds of billions of taxpayer health insurance subsidies end up going to the right people. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., subsequently sponsored legislation along these lines.
Americans don’t like Obamacare, but they don’t like government shutdowns, either.