Karl Rove doesn’t think Obamacare is inevitable. Indeed, opposition is building against a government-run, hugely expensive health care system — as indicated both by polling data and the zeitgeist on Capitol Hill. Rove concludes:
Transforming health care into a government-run system would be difficult to do under any circumstances. Americans are still wary about big government. Health-care reform also always sounds better in the abstract. Public resistance rises once liberals are forced to release the details of their plans.
Meanwhile, the $787 billion stimulus package has not provided the economic kick Mr. Obama promised. The $410 billion Omnibus spending bill the president signed in March and his $3.5 trillion budget plan for next year are also adding to the river of red ink.
Health-care reform was said to be “inevitable” a few months ago. Today, its prospects are less certain, even to Democrats. The issue may even turn out to be a millstone for the party.
Americans are increasingly concerned about the cost — in money and personal freedom — of Mr. Obama’s nanny-state initiatives. To strengthen the emerging coalition of independents and Republicans, the GOP must fight Mr. Obama’s agenda with reasoned arguments and attractive alternatives. Health care may actually be an issue that helps resurrect the GOP.
Upon closer examination, the early spending binge by the Obama team seems to have been the undoing of healthcare reform. It shifted the responsibility for the economic recovery onto Obama’s shoulders — we were told, after all, its passage would keep unemployment at 8%. But its failure to deliver on this promise and the ongoing economic malaise have made more Americans wary of Obama’s grandiose schemes. There is no track record of competent economic management he can point to in order to assure Americans that his team knows what its doing. But most of all, the resulting fiscal train wreck has made voters and lawmakers in both parties nervous about spending even more money (which we don’t have).
Democrats are now talking about a massive tax scheme to raise the necessary funds for healthcare reform. We certainly have come a long way from the days when healthcare reform was going to save money. But unlike the plan John McCain put forth during the campaign — there is no trade off here and no tax credit that would shift Americans to a system of individually purchased insurance. This is nothing more than a huge government entitlement program financed by a round of new taxes on Americans. All this during a recession coupled with rising unemployment.
Maybe the Democrats can jam this through. But if the polls are correct, and Americans object to more government, more debt, and more spending, those who vote for it will do so at their political peril.