The Corner

Planning Ahead Against Obamacare

According to Byron York, House Republicans are eager to de-fund parts of Obamacare next year if they take control of the body but do not succeed in outright repeal next year. As I see it they have three options:


1) Try to pass appropriations bills without funding for various aspects of Obamacare and then try to get them through the Senate; then deal with an Obama veto. It is possible for this type of fight to lead to a partial government shutdown, but I can’t imagine Republicans would be that foolhardy.


2) Break up the huge appropriations bill for HHS into many pieces and pass through the House only the non-Obamacare parts. The president couldn’t, I think, veto bills he likes because the House isn’t passing other things that he wants. But this strategy would require a degree of GOP cohesion that is probably hard to attain, given the truculence of appropriators.


The upside of 1) and 2) are limited: I’m not sure there’s much in Obamacare that appropriators can stop even in the best of circumstances. Which leaves us with


3) The strategy Jim Capretta recommends in the new National Review: Move bills that undo parts of Obamacare, such as the cuts in Medicare Advantage, and pay for them by delaying implementation of the rest of Obamacare. I think it would be politically costly for the Democrats to oppose such bills, and would nicely set up the Obamacare debate for the 2012 election. It makes sense as part of a long-term strategy for repeal.

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


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