Wishful Thinking: Why Obamacare Is Here to Stay

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I was determined to start the new year on a positive note, and my first visit to the Drudge Report in 2016 was full of optimism. A link caught my eye, so I clicked . . . and it took literally two minutes to sour my mood.

The headline looked promising enough: “Vote to Repeal Obamacare Marks Testy Start to 2016.”

Good, it should be repealed, I thought. About time! But then, as I am wont to do, I got to thinking, and the reality of present day American politics resurfaced.

Essentially Republicans are planning to not only repeal Obamacare, but also draft an alternative, or something.

Per the article:

“You’re going to see us put a bill on the president’s desk going after Obamacare and Planned Parenthood so we’ll finally get a bill on his desk to veto,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to beloved conservative radio host Bill Bennett. “Then you’re going to see the House Republican Conference, working with our senators, coming out with a bold agenda that we’re going to lay out for the country, to say how we would do things very differently.”

The plan, it seems, is to pass the repeal in both the House and the Senate, thus forcing Obama to use his veto power. Then on January 22nd, in concert with a pro-life march in Washington, D.C. to mark the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, Congress will attempt to override that veto.

There’s just one problem: they don’t have the two-thirds majority in both houses needed to override anything.

Apparently Ryan can shit diamonds, but chose not to with the recent omnibus spending bill.

You see, if he was so interested in repealing Obamacare, he would have done more to stop that legislative train wreck, the passage of which made it more difficult than ever to repeal Obamacare.

According to the Weekly Standard (via the Wall Street Journal), by delaying taxes on medical devices and “high-cost employer health plans,” aka the Cadillac tax, the omnibus “will make deep-pocketed groups that much less interested in full repeal in 2017, while the suspension of the Cadillac tax will also make it that much harder to pass the conservative alternative needed to make full repeal a reality.”

So sadly, it seems, Ryan’s rhetoric is little more than a political stunt to force the President to appear as if he is going against the will of the American people. You know, as he has done time and time again with virtually no repercussions. We’ve been there and done that, and it doesn’t work.

While I appreciate the symbolism, the fact is this: the only way Obamacare will ever be repealed is if Republicans win the White House, hold on to both houses of Congress, and draft a viable alternative. And that’s where the effort should be spent—not in political grandstanding.

Of course, the sad fact remains that even if Republicans do find themselves in the driver’s seat in December, Obamacare is still likely here to stay. Part tax, part entitlement, the President’s signature legislative achievement is a strange hybrid of Washington’s two worst habits. Neither goes away easily, if ever. Why should Obamacare be any different?

If Ryan is worth a damn he will focus on the Republicans’ alternative rather than pulling legislative stunts, particularly given his sinking approval numbers. Election Day is less than a year out, and cramming for a new national health care plan is, to say the least, a bad idea. Don’t believe me? Just look at Obamacare.

Sadly, it seems, these days big government is big government, no matter what letter is next to a politician’s name. I’m hoping Paul Ryan will prove me wrong, but I’m not betting on it.

Here’s to 2016, and all the political pandering that will come with it. How can you not drink to that?

 

 

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