Repeal Health Care Reform? Unlikely.

It looks as if the Democrats will muster up the votes to get the Senate health reform bill passed through the House and it’s almost a foregone conclusion that the reconciliation package will easily make it through the Senate.    While some conservative pundits and Republican leaders are now touting a Repeal platform for November, my gut tells me that Daniel Larison is right:

One of the major problems we face as a nation is the complete inability to dismantle an entitlement once it is established. Every entitlement typically creates a constituency that benefits from it and is forever dedicated to its defense. The most electorally significant resistance to the current legislation has come from Medicare loyalists who wish to preserve it just as it is, and it may be that even this is not enough. While Republicans have been able to tap into the fear that Medicare will have to be cut, a repeal effort will tap into a much smaller electoral base that never wanted health care legislation of any kind passed.

Depending on which polls you look at, the current process is either very or wildly unpopular.   But the problem for a Repeal movement is that the anti-HCR coalition is one of exceedingly strange bedfellows, ranging from principled opposition to further government involvement in the system, Progressives who insist on the public option, fair-minded types who don’t like the parliamentary tricks involved, and those who intensely dislike one or more parts of the current proposal.   Once a bill is passed, many of those people will either melt away or start work on further socializing our health care system.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. PD Shaw says:

    It doesn’t look like the House will muster up enough votes to pass the Senate bill, but one suspect that they will somehow.

    The reconciliation sidecar looks like it’s going to be derailed in the Senate with amendments and parliamentary rulings that will send it back to the House to do this all over again.

    After the Senate bill is passed and signed by the POTUS, there will be bills to chisel away the unpopular portions of it, like the tax increases, Medicare cuts, kickbacks, address the doc fix, and soften the mandates. The question will be how deep will they carve before destroying the Senate healthcare plan or the country’s finances.

  2. Maybe not. Since there aren’t much buty taxes the first few years, perhaps it can be repealed before much gets implemented.

  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Republicans will run on the promise of repeal. Since they will control both the house and Senate after the upcomming election, a repeal of this unconstitutional mandate will be possible. Obama will veto, and we will have to wait for a Republican President in 2012 to get a full repeal. If challenges to the constitutionality of this bill are unsucessful and Obama is not impeached in 2011. Independents and conservatives will assure Hussein does not get another 4 years.

  4. Trumwill says:

    The only thing that makes me hesitate to agree with this wholeheartedly is that this is a bill that phases in over time. Isn’t there a fair amount of time between now and when the law starts actually phasing in? Benefits not yet seen are not as impossible to dismantle ones that people have gotten used to.

  5. yetanotherjohn says:

    Let’s assume it passes and GOP wins majorities in both houses. With Obama in presidency, I can’t see a veto override coming together. But I can see putting repeal for all or some of this in something Obama won’t veto. For example, putting repeal onto the budget bill.

    Another possibility is not to fund it. This puts all the expense on the state. This sets up the train wreck which stops it.

  6. floyd says:

    to those of you who were looking forward to today’s event. I’m sure we are all in for many surprises in the coming months, what with 3800 pages to unravel.

    How about those 16000 new IRS employees?!… Now there’s a “green job” if you get my drift [for those of you on the “left” the reference was to higher taxes]
    Well, I guess you were not satisfied running your own lives, so you now can run mine as well.
    Don’t worry though, I understand just how trustworthy the federal government can be. As a Southerner growing up I was taught all about the 100 years of reconstruction…so most of those aforementioned surprises will be coming to those of you who believed one of the three biggest possible lies…

    “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you!”

    OH well I’m sure “the check’s in the mail.”

    As for the third…most of you will be pleased with the results!

  7. Ted Kozlowski says:

    Pyscho paths….what are you gonna impeach Obama for? Passing an unpopular bill? Thats not an impeachable offense morons. Some of you tards need a reality check.