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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Health War Goes On

At Commentary, Tevi Troy analyzes how health care affected the 2010 election and looks ahead to the next two years:

Republicans are taking over the House of Representatives with a justified belief that the American people have given them a mandate to “repeal and replace” the health-care bill. They can’t succeed at it. Even if a repeal vote passes the House—and it is likely that such a vote will take place early in the year—Republicans will not be able to get that bill through the Democratic-controlled Senate, and President Obama would veto it in any event. As a result, House Republicans will have to spend the next two years making the case for repeal, using the tools of the majority—gavels, more staff, and subpoena power—to highlight the case.

There are, however, two possible means of repeal. There is actual legislative repeal, passed by both Houses and signed by the president, which cannot happen until 2013 at the earliest. And there is effective repeal, in which the body politic rejects the substance of the bill, seeks waivers and exemptions, supports defunding important provisions, and challenges it in court, all of which would have the effect of making the whole scheme unworkable. This could be the ultimate fate of Obama’s signature legislation.

Many Democrats are sure to keep telling themselves, as President Obama has, that “the outcome was a good one.” That conviction should comfort them as they continue to deal with the consequences arising from the intensity of the electorate’s rejection. The Pyrrhic victory Democrats secured for themselves in March 2010 may prove not to have been a victory at all but rather an ever-roiling, ongoing, and recurring act of political and ideological self-destruction.

The New York Times reports:

For their part, the Obama administration and Democrats, who largely lost the health care message war in the raucous legislative process, see the renewed debate as a chance to show that the law will be a boon to millions of Americans and hope to turn “Obamacare” from a pejorative into a tag for one of the president’s proudest achievements.

Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, is coordinating the administration’s response. In a recent speech, she cataloged the damage she said would be done by the law’s repeal. Outside groups that fought for the law, like Families USA and Health Care for America Now, also say they will join the fight to preserve it.

Representative Robert E. Andrews, Democrat of New Jersey, challenged the Republicans to bring it on. “We will respond by pointing out the impact of repeal on people’s lives,” Mr. Andrews said. “On women with cancer who could be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition. On senior citizens who would lose the help they are receiving to pay for prescriptions.”