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Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

Obamacare: Down But Not Yet Out



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Obamacare is certainly bruised and battered, and common sense would dictate that following this political upset, the plan is dead. But pundits and experts have prematurely pronounced Obamacare’s demise before. Thanks to declining polls and a summer full of average Americans’ standing up and protesting at town halls across the country, many have opined that Democrats would slow down or maybe even start over. Nonetheless, Mr. Obama has doggedly stuck to his guns. He has given speech after speech, gone on talk show after talk show, repeatedly redefined and rebranded. He has vehemently attacked those in opposition and — with help from a “Louisiana Purchase” here and a “CornHusker Kickback” there — Obamacare has teetered on.

The Left may have its back against the wall, but it still has options to push this fiasco farther. The House could adopt the Senate bill in its current state. While this bill may be less radical than the House version, its passage would still put the nation on an irreversible step toward a single payer system. Democrats could also utilize reconciliation — a budgetary option that hitherto they have kept on the table. Although not typically used for this type of legislation, it would enable the bill’s passage with only 51 votes.

Obama, Senator Reid, and Speaker Pelosi have refused to read the writing on the wall. They have been hell bent on increasing the government’s role in health care. Their actions demonstrate that they believe the passage of their radical bill in the name of “reform” will be better in the long run for the Democratic party than would abandoning the legislation.

Mr. Clinton was smart enough to take the latter course after the 1994 midterm elections and saved his presidency. But at this point it would be naïve and premature to think that Mr. Obama will do the same.

Jason Fodeman is an internal-medicine resident at the University of Connecticut. A former health-policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation, he is the author of How to Destroy a Village: What the Clintons Taught a Seventeen Year Old.



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