Yes, The GOP Can, And Likely Will, Repeal ObamaCare in 2013 If They Win In November

If the GOP wins in November, there will be very few actual barriers in the way if they really want to repeal the PPACA.

In contrast to the doubts that the GOP would able to repeal the Affordable Care Act as Mitt Romney promised again yesterday that I expressed in my post yesterday, and which Steven Taylor expands upon in his post today, Matthew Yglesias sends out a warning signal to his fellow liberals that the law is most assuredly in danger if the GOP wins in November:

[O]nce the basic framework of the law is in place, it’ll be all but impossible to kill. That’s probably why no country that’s instituted a universal health insurance program has ever rolled it back—even strong conservatives like Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom or the current right-wing government in Canada leave existing programs in place.

The problem for Democrats is that if Romney takes office in 2013, none of this stuff will have actually happened yet. Repealing the law in its abstract form is a bit politically risky for Republicans but not nearly as risky as it will become in the future. Already in 2011, House Republicans were thrilled to vote for a “Repeal the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” even though it was obvious that the president was never going to sign it. If in January 2013 Republicans control all three branches of government, there’s no reason to think they’ll grow more timid. In a statement immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision, Romney promised to “act to repeal Obamacare” on his “first day if elected president of the United States” and if Congress puts a bill to that effect on his desk, he’ll do it.

Still, though Republicans seem likely to win control of the Senate in any scenario where Romney becomes president, it’s exceedingly unlikely that they’d score the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Technically speaking, since repealing the bill would increase the budget deficit, it should be ineligible for the budget reconciliation process that Democrats used to pass the bill in the first place with only 59 votes. In reality, this is unlikely to make a difference to a determined GOP. Back in 2001 and 2003, Republicans were able to find gimmicks to pass giant tax cuts under reconciliation orders, and in this case conservatives sincerely believe that the CBO is mistaken and repeal would reduce the deficit.

Scrapping the law, in other words, should be a pretty easy lift for Republicans—if they win the election.

Politico goes through the steps of how the GOP might be able to accomplish this, assuming that all of the electoral cards are in their favor:

Republican hopes to repeal the health care law may come down to a bank shot: A GOP sweep in November and a simple Senate majority — along with some arcane budget procedures — could kill the individual mandate in 2013.

The House will hold a symbolic vote to repeal the law on July 11, but the real long-term strategy for rolling back the law is already under way. Republicans are stoking voter anger over the law until Election Day, which they hope will produce a Mitt Romney presidency and an all-Republican Congress. And it ends by employing budget rules that would allow a fast-track repeal with a 51-vote majority in the Senate, circumventing a Democratic minority and potential filibuster.

That process — known on Capitol Hill as budget reconciliation — would give Republicans a serious shot at repealing the individual mandate and the heart of the law before 2014 when much of it is scheduled to take effect.

So it’s not surprising that the word “reconciliation” was on the tip of virtually every Republican tongue Thursday, just hours after the landmark Supreme Court ruling upholding most of the health care law.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Republican Conference, said budget reconciliation could be a “vehicle” for repeal, promising Republicans would make “every attempt” under a GOP Senate majority and Republican White House to do just that.

“I’ve already heard discussions that it can be done through 51 votes in the Senate, which is an easier threshold,” said Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a member of House GOP leadership and a key Romney adviser.

“With a 50-vote majority in the Senate, Republicans could do the same thing Democrats did with 50 votes on Obamacare — and that is to use the reconciliation process — to reverse the more onerous provisions of Obamacare and replace them with what Republicans have been talking about,” Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said.

Of course, a lot has to go right for Republicans between now and then.

Obama would have to lose the White House, Republicans would have to pick up three Senate seats — and hold the House — and the GOP would have to show 100 percent unity if it was serious about repealing a law that has been found constitutional by the Supreme Court.

On top of that, some budget experts believe not every part of the health care law could be repealed using the simple-majority rules of reconciliation — only the parts that have a direct budget impact. Still, major portions, including the individual mandate, could be targeted by reconciliation.

This is a good point, and its one that I raise in my own post yesterday, but Kevin Drum argues that the worrying over reconciliation is kind of silly:

[T]his whole conversation has always struck me as faintly ridiculous. First, if you repeal all the budget-related aspect of Obamacare, you’ve essentially gutted the law. Who cares if it takes a few more years to do the mopping up via amendments to must-pass bills? Second, I’m not sure 60 votes is actually out of reach for the regulatory parts of the law anyway. If the law is already in tatters because the funding is gone, there might very well be a dozen Democrats willing to join Republicans in getting rid of the rest of it and starting over.

And third — well, look. Can we stop pretending to be children here? As Matt Yglesias points out, the last time Republicans had a problem with reconciliation, they just fired the Senate parliamentarian and hired a new one willing to make the rulings they needed. They can do the same thing this time, or they can skip the drama and just ask Vice President Rubio to overrule the parliamentarian. All they need is a determination that the entire law is so tightly intertwined that, taken as a whole, it’s a budgetary matter.

Would the GOP take this route? Yglesias and Drum sure seem to think so, and Ezra Klein agrees, although they admittedly may be being a little overdramatic about all of this in order to raise awareness of this issue among their readers. If you look to the manner in which the GOP has governed since taking over the House, though, I think you can make a plausible case that a Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who once said that his primary task was to assure that President Obama did not have a second term, would use these kind of tactics to push through legislation that would repeal the law that epitomizes that same President domestic agenda. It would be far too tempting for Republicans, after having won the White House and taken control of the Senate, to follow up a defeat of Barack Obama in November with action to repeal his signature piece of legislation some three months later.  Additionally, it’s worth noting, as Klein and Yglesias point out, that the GOP has done this before. The Bush Tax Cuts were passed under reconciliation, and then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott even went so far as to fire the Senate Parliamentarian when he wasn’t making rulings on what constituted a “budget” matter that were favorable to the Senate Republicans. Morever, when the Democrats pushed the final round of ObamaCare through the Senate, they also relied on reconciliation because they knew they could not get the 60 votes to invoke cloture. Anyone want to bet that they GOP wouldn’t do the same thing in 2013? Yglesias doesn’t think so:

That is how you get things done in Washington when you want to get things done. And my view is that Republicans, at this point, really do want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They don’t like that it raises taxes, they don’t like that it spends money on the poor, they don’t like that it rolls back Medicare privatization, and they don’t like that it pushes health insurance companies in the direction of becoming regulated utilities. If they genuinely lack the votes for repeal, they won’t repeal it, but they’re not going to let interpretive disputes over what is and isn’t a budgetary measure hold them up.

But what, you might ask, about those provisions of the PPACA that are popular such as the bar on denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and the provisions that allow parents to keep children on their policy until the age of 26? Wouldn’t the GOP be reluctant to repeal these provision for fear of voter backlash? Perhaps, but as Drum argues above, once you repeal the individual mandate and, more importantly, the employer mandate (which the GOP is also targeting), the economic rationale for the rest of the law essentially collapses into dust. If Congress were to leave these provisions intact after repealing the mandates, the impact would either be that insurance companies would start jacking up premiums to cover the increased risk, or you’d see a lot of people dropping health insurance before they cannot afford it, perhaps both. It would just make the situation worse. So regardless of how popular those provisions are, there’s no rationale for keeping them in place if the real meat of the law is gone.

If there’s anything that might restrain the GOP in 2013, it’s the fact that there will be several other thins that will need to be dealt with in 2013 including the extension of the Bush tax cuts, the extension of the payroll tax cut, the Medicare “Doc Fix,” a probable need to raise the debt ceiling,  and the question of what happens to the sequestration cuts that were part of the August 2011 debt ceiling deal. It’s all part of what people in Washington are starting to call the “fiscal cliff,” and dealing with all of that is going to require the expenditure of a lot of political capital and a lot of legislative time. Depending on the urgency of the situation, the GOP may have no choice but to put repeal off, or make it part of a “Grand Bargain” deal on taxes and spending.

Notwithstanding all of that, though, and notwithstanding the doubts I expressed yesterday about whether the GOP would actually follow through with repeal, I believe Yglesias, Drum, and Klein all make good points here. As Yglesias says above, if the GOP doesn’t have the votes to repeal the PPACA they aren’t going to pursue it, but if they do they aren’t going to let a few Senate rules stand in their way.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Congress, Deficit and Debt, Health Care, Taxes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    As I said below:
    If the Republicans take all three branches they will find a way to repeal what is essentially a Republican plan. They will then:
    a) Replace it with nothing.
    or
    b) Replace it with something that is nearly identical.

    And Bingo:
    David Brooks Wants To Replace ObamaCare With ObamaCare

    This was a Republican plan – Romney and CATO. Opposition was never about ideology it was always about politics.

  2. @Ron Beasley:

    CATO never advocated a health care reform plan that included an individual mandate.

  3. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Don’t confuse his talking points with facts.

    And considering how much worse things ObamaCare will make things, replacing it with “nothing” would be an advantage.

  4. Jeremy says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

    The Republicans have a really good shot at health care reform if they aggressively pursue consumer driven health care, by eliminating third-party payer problems and essentially booting out and dismantling the health insurance companies that government has either created or abetted over the past half-century. That would eliminate the big corporations that make life hell for so many people (there you get some of the left and most of the people who just want live to suck less) and you’ll be making health care cheaper.

    But, since the Republicans are basically in hock to major businesses, I don’t expect them to change anything, and essentially pick option 1 that Ron Beasley put forward: nothing.

    Which leaves us with the pre-Obamacare status quo, which is most assuredly not desirable.

  5. john personna says:

    I think too much of this still shows the aftershocks and the emotional carryover from the constitutionality arguments.

    We are still hearing too much about how Roberts coulda, shoulda, woulda ruled, rather than what makes health care better.

    Now, the argument that this might be good healthcare and bad for employment is a possible conservative strategy, but the left has a ready answer. Mitt’s RomneyCare didn’t do dire things to the Mass. economy.

    Which leaves us where? That we should mobilize the nation to repeal a law that offends us on ideological grounds? Well, that’s a pretty hard-right argument, and I think one that’s tough to ride to majority.

  6. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Right, it was a Heritage Foundation idea, not CATO

  7. John,

    Exactly

  8. al-Ameda says:

    The central question is; does the public want to turn the entire government over to the Republican Party?

    The same party that presided over, in 2008, the most serious crash of the economy since the Great Depression. The same party that proposes to cut the top tax bracket from 34% to 25% while not reducing the deficit at all. How will they like the GOP proposal to begin privatization of MediCare? Or possible private accounts in social security? Or increased defense spenending while we cut taxes?

    Maybe the public wants to run off the cliff with the GOP, I don’t know.

  9. mantis says:

    If Congress were to leave these provisions intact after repealing the mandates, the impact would either be that insurance companies would start jacking up premiums to cover the increased risk, or you’d see a lot of people dropping health insurance before they cannot afford it, perhaps both. It would just make the situation worse.

    I’ve see no indication that they care if they make things worse. In fact, it seems to be one of their goals.

  10. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And considering how much worse things ObamaCare will make things, replacing it with “nothing” would be an advantage.

    Please explain in detail how “ObamaCare” will make things much worse.

  11. al-Ameda says:

    @mantis:

    Please explain in detail how “ObamaCare” will make things much worse.

    I’m sure that they will note that RomneyCare destroyed the Massachusetts economy.
    Does that help?

  12. mantis says:

    @al-Ameda:

    I’m sure that they will note that RomneyCare destroyed the Massachusetts economy.

    I’m expecting something more along the lines of “Sochulism skreeeeeee!!!!11!!! QED.”

  13. john personna says:

    (March 6, 2012) Massachusetts regained the top spot on the 11th Annual Beacon Hill Institute’s State Competitiveness Report. Last year the Bay State ranked third behind Colorado and North Dakota, which finished first last year. Longstanding strengths in human resources, technology and openness buoyed Massachusetts.

    Too bad for Mitt that his (first) plan is working?

  14. Scott F. says:

    …including the extension of the Bush tax cuts, the extension of the payroll tax cut, the Medicare “Doc Fix,” a probable need to raise the debt ceiling, and the question of what happens to the sequestration cuts that were part of the August 2011 debt ceiling deal.

    Lookie there. Every one of those things would increase the deficit. Is anyone surprised that the deficit would instantly stop mattering as soon as the Republicans are fully in charge?

  15. Scott,

    Have you read the report from the CBO about the economic impact of letting all the Bush tax cuts expire in December? It isn’t pretty.

  16. anjin-san says:

    I’m sure that they will note that RomneyCare destroyed the Massachusetts economy.

    Massachusetts is a blasted ruin, a socialistic hell on earth. People are killing each other for food. Boston has been abandoned. The MSM has been covering it up. And don’t forget, the moon landing was a fake…

  17. Scott F. says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’ve seen the CBO report and I know it won’t be pretty.

    But, you see, I’m not a deficit hawk and I’ve never pretended to be one unlike all the GOPers have over the last 3 years, so it wouldn’t be hypocritical of me to be willing to increase the deficit in the short term to address the “fiscal cliff.”

    I even favor immediate commitment to long term deficit reduction efforts. You know, like the President does.

  18. C. Clavin says:

    “…If Congress were to leave these provisions intact after repealing the mandates, the impact would either be that insurance companies would start jacking up premiums to cover the increased risk, or you’d see a lot of people dropping health insurance before they cannot afford it, perhaps both. It would just make the situation worse…”

    The Republican Caucus and R’money have already talked about this…is spite of repeatedly claiming to be the only ones in the room that know how the economy works.
    Of course the idea that Republicans have any clue about how the economy works is pretty easily de-bunked.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-25/democratic-presidents-are-better-for-the-economy.html

  19. C. Clavin says:

    “…Have you read the report from the CBO about the economic impact of letting all the Bush tax cuts expire in December?”

    Um…the CBO report is about far more than just the Bush Tax Cuts…I guess that didn’t fit your ideology.

  20. I’m not saying I agree with the recommendations. I am only saying that no politician is going to allow events that would send the economy in to recession to occur.

  21. Herb says:

    Rather than figuring out a way to finally –for reals this time– defeat Obamacare, I think the GOP would be better served if they were to look for new windmills at which to tilt.

  22. An Interested Party says:

    I’m not saying I agree with the recommendations. I am only saying that no politician is going to allow events that would send the economy in to recession to occur.

    Oh, so then there also won’t be any deep cuts in spending…too bad…

  23. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “I am only saying that no politician is going to allow events that would send the economy in to recession to occur. “

    Which would have been a truism prior to the debt ceiling debate. Now, the truism is that if they’re a Republican…..they might.

    The Dems? Yeah…..they’ll proceed prudently. But that’s kind of their thing these days, isn’t it?

  24. Just Me says:

    I still have serious doubts that the GOP will repeal even if they get both houses and the white house.

    I think they may tweak some things but I seriously don’t see them repealing it.

  25. Moosebreath says:

    Wait, wait — a Doug post which acknowledges that Republicans govern differently than Democrats. How can that possibly be?

  26. anjin-san says:

    I am only saying that no politician is going to allow events that would send the economy in to recession to occur.

    Guess you never heard of that GW fellow…

  27. mattb says:

    @Doug Mataconis: It might be hair splitting, but I suspect that your comment should be changed to:

    I am only saying that no politician is going to knowingly allow events that would send the economy in to recession to occur.

    I think the last decade has provided a pretty good example of politicians allowing a number of events to occur (either through choice or negligence) that allowed a recession to occur.

  28. G.A. says:

    I am only saying that no politician is going to allow events that would send the economy in to recession to occur.

    The recession never ended it got worse…..

    Geez…

  29. rudderpedals says:

    @G.A.: Can we blame the paradox of thrift for this neverending story?

  30. Cycloptichorn says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’m not saying I agree with the recommendations. I am only saying that no politician is going to allow events that would send the economy in to recession to occur.

    Sorry, but the GOP has signaled their willingness to do EXACTLY this. Hell, during the Debt Ceiling debate, many of them were EXPLICITLY saying that they would be willing to have this happen, to get their way.

    You really need to start paying attention to the reality of our modern situation. It’s one thing to have principles and want to vote for the side who comes the closest to protecting them; that’s fine. But the modern bunch of R’s would rather burn the whole house down than admit that the other guys are sometimes right, and that maybe their ideology isn’t correct every single time.

  31. Ron Beasley says:

    @john personna: You are correct – my bad.

  32. Herb says:

    @G.A.:

    “The recession never ended it got worse…..’

    Not for everyone…..

    It may be true if your income comes in the form of a payroll check. If it comes in the form of a quarterly interest statement…..you’re “doing fine.”

  33. Scott F. says:

    @Cycloptichorn:

    I think Doug’s got it right that the Rs won’t “burn the whole house down” once they’ve been given the keys. They’ll move immediately to address the “fiscal cliff” once it’s clear they’ll own the mess if they don’t. Principles are only important when you are in opposition.

  34. jan says:

    @Jeremy:

    The Republicans have a really good shot at health care reform if they aggressively pursue consumer driven health care, by eliminating third-party payer problems and essentially booting out and dismantling the health insurance companies that government has either created or abetted over the past half-century. That would eliminate the big corporations that make life hell for so many people (there you get some of the left and most of the people who just want live to suck less) and you’ll be making health care cheaper.

    The best statement posted here.

  35. G.A. says:

    It may be true if your income comes in the form of a payroll check. If it comes in the form of a quarterly interest statement…..you’re “doing fine.”

    I work for a living but that has nothing to do with us being in a recession that worse and after yesterday lol….

  36. al-Ameda says:

    @G.A.:

    I work for a living but that has nothing to do with us being in a recession that worse and after yesterday lol….

    Except that … we’re not in a recession. A recession is defined as a negative growth economy. We have an anemic recovery – about 2.8% growth, and a stagnant unemployment rate of 8% – but that is not a recession.

  37. al-Ameda says:

    As Yglesias says above, if the GOP doesn’t have the votes to repeal the PPACA they aren’t going to pursue it, but if they do they aren’t going to let a few Senate rules stand in their way.

    Republicans have shown us constantly that they will scorch the earth to get what they want. They didn’t mind causing a credit rating downgrade of US securities over the debt ceiling limit, or issuing a first-time ever contempt citation to a member of the president’s cabinet.

    It’s never over for Republicans – Democrats are always playing a passive defense.

  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @al-Ameda:

    I think we’re conflating Tea Party Caucus and Republicans here. Much of the rancor is coming from that TP caucus, as the subset of Southern bombthrowers that it largely is, precisely because Boehner is too weak of a Speaker to control them.

    Boehner can be a pretty reasonable guy when he isn’t in perpetual campaign mode (which, sadly, is less and less often these days), but he and others like him aren’t the problem. Their inability to corral the looney tunes segment of their own caucus is.

  39. Herb says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    “Boehner can be a pretty reasonable guy when he isn’t in perpetual campaign mode (which, sadly, is less and less often these days), but he and others like him aren’t the problem. “

    I wish I could agree with that….

    Boehner strikes me as not terribly bright with very little emotional maturity. I’m sure he’s a nice enough guy, but I think the Speaker should be a little smarter and be able to maintain a stiff upper lip.

  40. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Herb:

    I’m basing the assertion on his entire record in the House. Boehner has been there for close to 20 years now, and by & large (at least prior to his being selected as Majority Leader back in 2006 anyway) his record has pretty much been one of pragmatism.

    His problem is that he’s inherently a Midwestern moderate with a tendency towards willingness to compromise that has been tasked with leading a fractured caucus fraught with incendiaries. The net effect of that is that Cantor, IMO, is the bottom line with regard to what direction the House goes in rather than Boehner. He’s just utterly ill-suited for the role into which he has been placed.

  41. @jan:

    Weird, I wouldn’t think you’d be one for “dismantling the health insurance companies” nor one to “eliminate the big corporations.”

    Is that really your bag? And is THAT constitutional?

  42. Pete says:

    @al-Ameda: Say, sharp guy, read this and continue believing in miracles: http://dailycapitalist.com/2012/06/29/q1-gdp-report-final-bea-obfuscation/#more-21307

  43. anjin-san says:

    @ Pete

    Maybe you could show us a few of the posts you wrote taking Bush to task for cooking the books – you know, failing to put the costs of two wars on the ledger…

  44. C. Clavin says:

    “…FreedomWorks, the Koch brothers-funded group responsible for many of the tea party’s largest rallies, is hosting a strategy call Saturday afternoon with tea party activists to plan the initial next steps of the grassroots health care fight…”

    Hahahahaha….the Koch Brothers are planning the Tea Party’s grassroots efforts…you can’t make up how stupid theose tricorn wearing, tea bag dangling fools are.

  45. C. Clavin says:

    @ Pete…
    The BEA is the bureau that missed the true scale of the Bush Contraction…and the reason the stimulus was geared for an economic crisis much smaller than the one that existed. Had everyone at the time understood what was actually happening in Q4 of 2008…that the economy had contracted at 9%…the reaction most likely would have been different, and the conversation today would most likely be different. Unfortunately many Republicans, and way too many commenters on this site, insist on blaming Obama for that 9% contraction.

  46. Ben Wolf says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Except that … we’re not in a recession. A recession is defined as a negative growth economy. We have an anemic recovery – about 2.8% growth, and a stagnant unemployment rate of 8% – but that is not a recession.

    Growth in the first quarter 2012 was 1.9% and its likely to fall to 1.6-1.7% by mid-summer. Subtract inflation and you get an economy in stall or contraction. Furthermore a focus on GDP ignores people who are actually suffering, the growing ranks of the unemployed.

  47. C. Clavin says:

    and oh-by-the-way…going from -9% to +1.8% is a delta of 10.8%. I’m not saying 1.8% is great…but it ain’t worse as many idiots posting here claim.

  48. @Ben Wolf:

    It’s early, I know, but those numbers are “real” with inflation already factored:

    Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012 (that is, from the fourth quarter to the first quarter), according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 3.0 percent.

    They go on:

    The increase in real GDP in the first quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, residential fixed investment, nonresidential fixed investment, and private inventory investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from federal government spending and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

    The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected decelerations in private inventory investment and in nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by accelerations n PCE, in exports, and in residential fixed investment and a deceleration in imports.

    Emphasis added. Full reports here

  49. mattb says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    His problem is that he’s inherently a Midwestern moderate with a tendency towards willingness to compromise that has been tasked with leading a fractured caucus fraught with incendiaries. The net effect of that is that Cantor, IMO, is the bottom line with regard to what direction the House goes in rather than Boehner. He’s just utterly ill-suited for the role into which he has been placed.

    This seems to me to be a pretty good summation/read of Boehner. The only other thing that I’d add to it is that, in interests of keeping the position that he’s ill-suited for (at least in this environment), he’s unwilling to directly take on Cantor on most issues. I think Boehner (rightly) believes that he’s one vote away from losing the speakership and leadership of the party in the House.

    The net result is a situation that gives Cantor potentially more power than if he was Speaker — he’s able to lead and throw bombs without much repercussion or need for compromise. It seems to me that giving him control of the House, in the long run. would be the most effective way of disarming him. But that would most likely end Boehner’s advancement within the party for good.

  50. al-Ameda says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    Fine.
    By conventional and widely accepted definition (and we know that Republicans like to create their new definitions and new reality) we are not now in a recession. That is not a statement that dismisses the ongoing deleterious effects of the 2008 crash of the financial and housing markets. It is merely a statement of fact.

  51. jukeboxgrad says:

    john:

    it was a Heritage Foundation idea

    Yes. And since there will always be people who try to pretend otherwise, let’s recall what Mitt said:

    We got the idea [of an individual mandate] from you [Newt] and the Heritage Foundation

    An excellent summary of this issue is here:

    … in 1989, Stuart Butler of the Heritage Foundation proposed a plan he called “Assuring Affordable Health Care for All Americans.” Stuart’s plan included a provision to “mandate all households to obtain adequate insurance” … when Mitt Romney designed his health plan in Massachusetts, he did so in large part with the assistance of the Heritage Foundation, especially Bob Moffit and Ed Haislmaier. “I want to begin by saying thank you to Bob Moffit and Ed Haislmaier,” said Romney at a Heritage event in 2006.

    Also see here:

    Obama now gets a chance to resell his biggest legislative achievement. He did just that on Thursday, in a brief (for him) and very effective summary of the principles of the health care law: “People who can afford to buy health insurance should take the responsibility to do so.” Sound familiar? It’s very close to what Romney said in 2009: “Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages free riders to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass on their medical costs to others.”

    As Ron said: “This was a Republican plan.” Only those with amnesia claim otherwise.

  52. @jukeboxgrad:

    For the far right, it’s still “but, but, but … Obama!”

    There was a certain contagion in that, as long as they could make the constitutionality claim. Now, it’s a fight about health care. Obama may actually be shy about taking that on directly, but he certainly has proxies ready to go toe to toe with Mitt.

    Even if we leave aside Mitt’s flip, we can talk directly about the mandate. Here are a couple questions on that front:

    1) If you already have health insurance, what are you getting excited about?

    2) If you don’t have insurance, why not?

    Everybody who was animated about ObamaCare and in category 1 was upset about constitutionality … either that or irrationally angry about being told to do what they already knew full well to do.

  53. C. Clavin says:

    @ John Personna

    “…Everybody who was animated about ObamaCare and in category 1 was upset about constitutionality…”

    Not to quibble, because I agree with your general point…but the entire question of Constitutionality was a goal…eliminating the PPACA…in search of a method. Republicans do not care about Constitutionality…unless it’s a tool they can use. Really it’s a fascinating study of a Fox News talking point getting parroted by two partisan Disctrict Court Judges, and making it all the way to the SCOTUS…where the Koch Brother funded Justices simply repeated it again. But, but, but, BROCCOLI…
    Today’s Republican party is a dangerous blend of ill-informed ideological zealotry, tacticians with no regard for history or tradition, and a total indifference to the very real and very difficult task of governing. The real question is when some Republican somewhere will grow a pair of cajones and say “enough”. Or…maybe that’s what Roberts did.

  54. anjin-san says:

    Or…maybe that’s what Roberts did.

    Interesting (and encouraging) thought.

  55. al-Ameda says:

    @Pete: Pete, we know that the ongoing effect of the 2008 crash extended well into 2009, and we are still working our way through this. The 208 crash caused the loss of nearly $14trillion in wealth and income in our economy, I’m surprised that you don’t understand why aggregate demand remains a problem.

  56. Tsar Nicholas says:

    That whole Angle-O’Donnell-Buck fiasco from 2010 looms larger by the day. If the GOP after this year’s cycle winds up with Romney + House + 49 it arguably would be the greatest ironic train wreck in political history.