Delay Obamacare (and Then Replace It)

by Ramesh Ponnuru


There’s a low-key debate among congressional Republicans about whether to call for delaying implementation of Obamacare. The chief argument against calling for it seems to be that the public should get a chance, before the next elections, to see the consequences of electing Democrats who support the law. The law is flawed and the administration is manifestly unprepared to put it in place, so let the train wreck happen and let the public draw the right conclusions.

Here are a few counter-arguments, all based on the same premise that Obamacare will not work well. 1) Implementation, botched or not, will do damage to the health-care system. 2) If delay doesn’t pass, then Republicans will at least have used the proposal to highlight the law’s deficiencies; and they will have done, and be seen to have done, all they can to protect the public from it. 3) If delay passes, on the other hand, it will be pretty embarrassing and demoralizing for the Democrats (which means that it probably wouldn’t pass). 4) If it passes, we’ll also have enacted a serious spending cut: Delaying implementation would save $160 billion over ten years that will otherwise be spent even if the implementation is disastrous.

I think the balance of the arguments goes to the delayers.