Despite the best efforts of President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to pretend otherwise, the drive to repeal Obamacare lives.
Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a barely bi-partisan basis once again to repeal it. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mt., has described the way the Obama administration is overseeing the new law's implementation as a "train wreck." In South Carolina, the heath care issue was used effectively by outside groups to push Republican Mark Sanford from 10 points behind to a crushing victory in a recent special election in the state's 1st congressional district.
For all that, however, the national GOP seems reluctant to mount a full-throated attack on the new legislation before it takes root. Initially there had been some hesitation by leading conservative groups to link the unfolding Internal Revenue Service scandal to the agency's expansion owing to new responsibilities given it under Obamacare. Finally, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia took the step of introducing H.R. 2009 – The Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013 – to block any part of the U.S. Treasury from enforcing or implementing any provision of the new law (and, in full disclosure, which is being backed by Let Freedom Ring, where I am a senior fellow).
The Democrat's response to the apparent chaos among GOP ranks on health care? "Bring it on!"
That's right. Pelosi wants her party to run its 2014 effort to win back control of the House on a plan that has the robust defense of Obamacare at its vital center.
There are some, like the group Independent Women's Voice – whose intervention proved crucial in the South Carolina special election – who are announcing their intention to take Pelosi up on her threat. Citing things like the premium increases that are already occurring, "including rate hike shocks of as much as 64-146 percent in California," the group is stepping up efforts to get candidates for Congress to sign its pledge to repeal the president's signature achievement.
The numbers are on the conservatives' side. The latest Rasmussen poll had 54 percent of Americans – a majority – holding an "unfavorable" view of Obamacare, with 40 percent saying their opinion was "very unfavorable."
If the Democrats in Congress really want to "wrap their arms around" Obamacare, says Independent Women's Voice, then they should – while those who oppose it should instead "wrap their arms around the solution: full and complete repeal of ObamaCare."
There are, of course, still ways to take the whole business apart in a piecemeal fashion. Complete repeal in one swoop may still be the "Hail Mary" pass that wins the game in the final seconds. There are still lawsuits working their way through the federal courts, the matter of Medicaid expansion to be dealt with in a number of states and thousands upon thousands of pages of new regulations to be written, promulgated, reviewed, commented upon, approved and appealed. The whole process could take much longer than the legislation's principal authors anticipated.
And time is not on their side. Delays, rationing, price hikes and other generally bad news will sour the American electorate on the new law before it is fully in effect. People are, unhappily, already dealing with the reality that, despite the president's promise it would be otherwise, they may not be able to keep the health care they have even if they like it. The GOP would be smart to take Pelosi up on her offer, as the Independent Women's Voice and others urge, and make Obamacare – and whether America wants to keep it – a major plank in the 2014 campaign platform.