Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

Time to Focus on the Positive


Two weeks have now elapsed since the passage of Obamacare, and that’s enough time for mourning. It is now time to move ahead and recognize this basic and enheartening fact: Opponents of Obamacare lost the battle over the law, but they won the battle over public opinion. And the latter victory is likely the more important one, because it will ultimately determine the fate of the former. If public opinion stays remotely where it is — and where it has been for the past six months — then the law, which wouldn’t really go into effect until 2014, is likely to never really go into effect at all.
So, cheer up! With Obamacare, President Obama has given a concrete example of everything that’s wrong with the European-style Democratic Socialist state, all wrapped up in one (massive) package. The notions are no longer abstract or theoretical. They’re here for all to see: less liberty, more taxes, more public indebtedness, more intergenerational theft, taxpayer funding for abortion, government rationing of health care, consolidation and centralization of power in Washington, and politicization of the properly private relationship between patient and doctor. The American people don’t want any of this, which is why 54 percent of Americans, including 59 percent of independents, are for repeal. Let’s give it to them.
Jim Capretta makes a great point in the current print edition of National Review: Not only do most Americans oppose Obamacare, but “the public is even unhappier about how the Democrats forced their plan upon the country in spite of unambiguous signals that the electorate did not want it. The only response that is fitting for such a brazen act of political arrogance is a sharp rebuke at the ballot box. Republican candidates should give voice to voter outrage by promising to undo — in its entirety, and as swiftly as possible — what should not have passed in the first place.”
Capretta captures why, symbolically as well as substantively, the push must be for full repeal. When people feel wronged, they respond to a rallying cry of “Let’s undo the wrong!” — not of “Let’s accept the wrong but try to make parts of it better.” If Republicans want to win in November and beyond, they need to push for (full) “repeal, and then real reform.”
As the current print edition of National Review also highlights, Republican congressional candidates who are looking for an example of real reform should look to the “small bill.” Under the small bill, which I authored, health costs and premiums would drop and more than four times as many Americans would become newly insured per dollar spent as under Obamacare. And the small bill wouldn’t raise Americans’ taxes, cut seniors’ Medicare benefits, raise deficits, or sap liberty.
Left for dead just a year and a half ago, Republicans now have a fight they can win, with tens of millions of independent voters and even some disaffected Democrats fighting by their side. It’s a fight for American ideals against attempts to implant a government-centered European state on American soil. It’s a three-year fight that will culminate in the presidential election of 2012 — against the man who’s currently taunting those who opposed Obamacare’s passage, seemingly forgetting that his legislative victory, slated to go into effect in 2014, cannot be realized without wins in the intervening elections.
Far from being all bad, the political landscape now offers fertile ground for victory in a fight for the ages — and for the essence of America.


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