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How Obamacare repeal really happens

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Jonathan Strong
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      Jonathan Strong

      Jonathan Strong, 27, is a reporter for the Daily Caller covering Congress. Previously, he was a reporter for Inside EPA where he wrote about environmental regulation in great detail, and before that a staffer for Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA). Strong graduated from Wheaton College (IL) with a degree in political science in 2006. He is a huge fan of and season ticket holder to the Washington Capitals hockey team. Strong and his wife reside in Arlington.

If Republicans really do repeal the president’s health care law, they’ll do it in 2013 with control of the presidency and the Senate.

“We passed wholesale repeal in the House. We have no delusion it’s going to pass the Senate or the president,” said Rep. Joe Pitts, chairman of the health subcommittee in the Energy and Commerce Committee in an interview Wednesday.

“If, in 2012, the electorate continues what they did in the last election and we get control of the House and Senate and even the presidency, then in one good long weekend we could undo the damage,” Pitts said.

“This has got to be the key issue in the 2012 presidential campaign,” said Grace Marie-Turner, co-author of “Why Obamacare is Wrong for America” and a key player in the push by conservative outside groups to bolster Hill Republicans on repeal, “there’s no way it’s gonna pass the Senate now or that the President would sign it.”

The issue is important because even if the Supreme Court rules the “individual mandate” in the law, which imposes a fine on those who do not purchase health insurance, is unconstitutional, it’s far less likely the high court will deem the entire law void, as a federal judge did in Florida.

Over this Congress, the challenge for Republicans is to keep a steady drumbeat about the law that keeps the conservative base riled up while continuing to push the law’s poll numbers down.

“Until [2012], we’ve got to pursue partial repeal, explain, educate the public as to the real impact as to the cost and many other compliance provisions,” Pitts said.

“Partial repeal” includes stand-alone bills that remove some of the least popular parts of Obamacare, like a burdensome tax reporting requirement on small businesses that both the House and Senate recently voted to remove from the law.

Publicly, GOP leaders are committed to dismantling as much of the law as they can.

“If the Senate won’t join us in passing a bill repealing Obamacare all at once, we’ll work to repeal it step-by-step,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a recent Internet video release.

However, according to three sources close to the issue, a private debate is raging about whether this piecemeal approach could actually hurt the momentum for full repeal by improving the bill and, eventually, it’s popularity.

“There’s some debate on the House side about that,” said Turner, “they don’t want to vote for anything that quote unquote fixes it.”

Pitts said “we’re not going to worry about that” and Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, said it won’t be a concern “given the fundamental flaws in the law.”

But insiders say that, in particular, adding flexibility on burdensome Medicare eligibility requirements on states could ameliorate opposition to the law by the nation’s governors, a key – and politically powerful – constituency pushing repeal.

Votes that make Senate Democrats swallow hard before voting no, or legislation that can pass the Senate but will face a veto from Obama, are in some senses the most useful politically for Republicans.

As Republicans navigate the tough strategic decisions on piecemeal repeal of the legislation, they plan to continue highlighting the law’s flaws with big publicity pushes and oversight hearings that make life tough for the bureaucrats racing to implement the law in the Obama administration.

Just today, on the first anniversary of the law’s enactment, has seen a massive, coordinated push to blast the law, including a joint op-ed by Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  • Whit

    The first thing we need to do is read the book of Daniel and then study the message that the king does not, nay, cannot overrule God

    At no time was Nebuchadnezzar prevented from carrying out his law but the power of the law was overruled. He ordered something that the Children of Israel could not do but they peacefully submitted to the penalty rather than bow to law and worldly government has tried to repeat that ever since, even Obama. While government is ordained of
    God it is not godly. Its function is to govern the ungodly for the godly are under grace and need no law to force compliance for there is no law that can enforce love. The godly do not pull a Wisconsin. Love is the fulfilling of the law.

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  • Tess_Comments

    Socialist type health care is not good for the USA.
    At this time the best thing to do is cut funding so that new mandates cannot be enforced. We need to void the Waivers then see how much support the health care law gets.

  • tFS

    If the Republicans’ strategy for repealing Obamacare hinges on winning the Presidency and both houses of Congress in 2012, then they’re blinded by rainbows.

    First, it takes 60 votes to move legislation in the Senate. They now have 47, and the chances of them gaining 13 net seats next year are less than 20%.

    Second, the odds of them winning the Presidency from a sitting president are 50-50 at best.

    The only real strategy for total repeal of Obamacare is to refuse to raise the debt ceiling in April/May 2011 unless and until President Obama and the Senate Democrats agree to repeal Obamacare as the price for that deal.

    theFinancialSkinny wrote about this on March 16, 2011 in “Repeal Obamacare or Shut Down the Government http://www.thefinancialskinny.com/?p=26

  • sagecitizen

    If the American people want to stop the ruin of the United States by Socialist Democrats, they must kill the source of the Socialist Democrats power: ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and the plethora of socialist controlled newspapers & magazines!

    Warner Bros (Time-Warner, Time, Inc, Time-Life, etc. controls the information content of CNN and hundreds of the most popular magazines in the country); and

    Disney, Inc. (Disney Entertainment) controls the information content of ABC; and

    Viacom & George Soros (Paramount Pictures) controls the information content of CBS; and

    Vivendi (A French company) & GE (Vivendi’s business partner in France) & Universal Studios) controls the content of NBC & MSNBC.

    Stop buying products from the companies who advertise on those networks!

    If all the American people knew the facts (unreported or distorted), the Socialist Democrats would not get elected to any political office and the Pro Socialist judges, Professors, and Teachers who are indoctrinating our children would be exposed!

    Stop buying products from the companies who advertise on those networks!

  • Rich Matarese

    The problem with knocking out PARTS of Obamacare is that it allows the National Socialist Democrat American Party (NSDAP, ’cause they quit being “democratic” when they enacted that “you’ve got to pass it to read it” abomination over the enraged protests of their own core voters) the chance to argue that the remaining portions “aren’t so bad.”

    Remember how they set it up so that the worst features don’t come into effect until AFTER the 2012 elections.

    The National Socialists are certainly evil and insane. But they’re cunning weasels, too.

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