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A Chronic Disease

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Obamacare won’t go away on its own

Conservatives and Republicans in Washington — activists, strategists, politicians — are increasingly embracing a theory about Obamacare: It’s going to collapse of its own weight, and its failure could yield a sharp right turn in the 2014 and 2016 elections. That theory is probably wrong, and dangerously so. To be rid of Obamacare, Republicans will have to do more than just wait for it to go away — and more than they have done so far.

You can see why the theory has caught on. The early implementation of Obamacare is not going well, with every week bringing fresh news embarrassing to the law’s proponents: Insurers are raising premiums, sometimes dramatically; the administration has had to announce that it will miss statutory deadlines; companies are planning to scale back coverage or even drop it completely. Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who did as much to shape the law as any other person, said that implementation could be a “train wreck” and then said he would not run for reelection next year. And there are reasons for thinking that the law is too badly conceived ever to work well.

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