Commentary Magazine


Is It Historic if It Never Happens?

As many Republicans are advocating, Karl Rove argues for a repeal-and-replace strategy for ObamaCare. He writes that the content of ObamaCare and the timing of its implementation make Republicans’ job easier:

Democratic hopes that passing health-care reform will help them politically will be unfulfilled because ObamaCare only benefits a small number of people in the short run. Until the massive subsidies to insurance companies fully ramp up in 2017, this bill will be more pain than gain for most Americans.

For example, changes in insurance regulations in 2011 and two new mandates in 2014 that force everyone to buy insurance and require everyone to be charged a similar price regardless of age or health will cause insurance premiums to rise more than they would have otherwise. The 10 million people who have a health savings account will also be hurt starting in 2011. With each passing year after that, they will be able to put less away tax free for medical expenses.

ObamaCare cuts $1.8 billion in support for Medicare Advantage this October, another $5.8 billion in October 2011, and an additional $9.2 billion right before the 2012 presidential election. This will increase premiums and reduce benefits for the 4.5 million people in the program.

Moreover, some of the immediate benefits that Obama promised – such as forcing insurance carriers to keep children on their parents’ insurance plans — seem, well, not to be real. And then there is the impact on the deficit, which will become all the more apparent once the Doc Fix is passed this year. In sum, the public’s strong aversion to the bill is not likely to be diminished by anything they see or learn about it between now and November.

Rove argues: “As voters start to feel the pain of this new program, Republicans will be in a stronger position if they stay in the fight, make a principled case, and lay out a competing vision.” If the Democrats do suffer heavy losses this year, we’ll see just how precarious the “historic” victory is. The great transformation of American society that Obama and his party have attempted to foist on an unwilling public may in fact end before it begins.