The Corner

Repeal and Replace: The State of the Debate

My article with Yuval Levin on why the election should not diminish conservatives’ resolve to repeal and replace Obamacare is now online.

Some conservatives are arguing that, given the election results, Republicans should make their peace with Obamacare and seek to improve it. So, for example, some policy wonks on the right argue that the exchanges should be redesigned to encourage high-deductible coverage. Consumers paying out of pocket for routine health-care expenses, they hope, will keep a close eye on prices. Other reformers say the law should be modified so that Medicaid recipients can buy coverage on the exchanges.

Many of the specific ideas these reformers advocate make sense, but they are wrong to think of them as reforms of Obamacare. The law is flawed in its conception and basic design, not just in some of its provisions, and blocking its worst effects would require a rewrite rather than modest modifications. Indeed, the changes these reformers want would amount to that rewrite. Their proponents would therefore have to overcome the advocates of Obamacare — which is another way of saying that enacting these reforms would require assembling the same coalition that repeal would require.

Our response to the (mostly) liberal critics of our article is also online.

The first thing to note is that none of our critics actually defend Obamacare, and therefore none dispute the argument of the piece. Their dispute is entirely with what we propose instead . . . . Their lack of interest in defending the law is interesting.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More

Billy Graham: Neither Prophet nor Theologian

Asked in 1972 if he believed in miracles, Billy Graham answered: Yes, Jesus performed some and there are many "miracles around us today, including television and airplanes." Graham was no theologian. Neither was he a prophet. Jesus said "a prophet hath no honor in his own country." Prophets take adversarial ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More