A Brief Window for Repeal

With Obamacare imploding, the unthinkable has become possible: the law could be repealed. Not just after the 2014 midterm elections, or after a new president takes office in 2017, but in the very near future. 

That is because many Democrats would–despite the absurd pretensions of their leadership–prefer to put the issue behind them. They stand a better chance if 2014 is a referendum on which party will best plan the next health care reform, not which party is responsible for this failed one. While a veto-proof majority would not be an easy lift, it is not unthinkable, and a wise Republican leadership should be trying to build one.

Though the problems of Obamacare will continue to mount, the window of opportunity for repeal may be short–perhaps just a few months. That is because as Election Day 2014 approaches, it will become harder for Democrats to convince voters to forget about Obamacare. They would then prefer to make a stand on the basis of Obamacare’s more popular provisions, like coverage for “kids” up to the age of 26 on their parents’ plans.

David Frum–who seems, bizarrely, determined to deny Republicans a victory on Obamacare even now–writes that the GOP should discard the “fantasy” of repeal and focus on “reform” instead. He is right that Republicans need to have an alternative set of policies handy, but he is wrong to insist that repeal is impossible. 

When the New York Times is invoking the repeal of Ronald Reagan’s catastrophic health insurance law as a precedent, and Obama’s hometown paper is openly calling for repeal, while Democrats are starting to avoid referring to the law by its name, there is a potential political opportunity–if Republicans can seize it.