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Frum Forum


Obamacare's Weakest Links

May 26, 2010

By David Gratzer

A clear majority of Americans now favor a full repeal of the President’s health-reform proposal.

The latest Rasmussen poll has support for repeal of the Affordable Care Act at 63 percent, including 46 percent who "strongly favor" repeal.

Pollsters aren’t perfect, and Rasmussen polls seem harder on Democratic efforts than others (and — not surprisingly — Democrats have been more critical of Rasmussen as of late). But another survey finds a similar result: according to the most recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, the President’s health-reform proposals have grown less popular over the last month. A majority of Americans have a "somewhat unfavorableā€" or "very unfavorable" view of the reforms.

Here’s the bottom line: For Republicans heading into November, this is only good news. The White House spent the last year pushing through sweeping changes and people are hardly sold. Now, with the ugliness of the political process behind us (remember the Louisiana purchase), Obamacare is sinking, not rising, in the polls. Repeal is a popular rallying cry on the stump, and has won strong support in conservative circles.

But if the pledge is repeal, Republicans will have a hard time delivering. Even if Democrats lose both the House and the Senate in November, the President still holds the veto pen. That means between now and 2013, talk of repeal is just that: talk.

But, post-November and in a strengthened position, the GOP can temper Obamacare. Amendments to non-healthcare bills and budgets all present opportunities for change. And if Republicans are able to reach out to moderate Democrats with focused criticism and concern, the potential is even greater.

What then should Republicans target?

Three areas of Obamacare are particularly problematic: health-insurance exchanges meant to spur competition that will instead strangle it with heavy regulations; a new technocratic committee to "guide" healthcare spending; and a tax on medical devices that will drive up cost inflation and impede innovation.

In a long essay for The New Atlantis, I explain why these key features of ObamaCare would be bad medicine for American health care and why Republicans should focus on them.

Original Source:



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