Whether Obamacare will be repealed or not is a question I’m asked almost every day. I don’t really want to write about this but I feel obligated to. When Obamacare was passed, 2013 seemed a long way away, but not now.
No, Obamacare will not be repealed. There are three reasons.
First, aspects of it are already in place, e.g. coverage for dependent children to age 26. The most strident opponents of Obamacare won’t take that one on.
Second, our form of government has enormous difficulty repealing this kind of legislation. For a good article on that click here. Obamacare has about as much chance of getting repealed as Medicare and Social Security…next to zero odds. Virtually all entitlements are here forever. Look at Europe.
Everyone has known for decades that Medicare is in deep trouble. How did “conservative” Republicans deal with that when they were in control? They passed a new uber-costly Medicare entitlement for prescription drugs.
The only way Obamacare can be repealed is if between now and 2013 our economy crashes in an unprecedented way…much worse than 1978, 2007, or 1932, much worse. That is doubtful. It will be tweaked this way and that through amendments, but repealed - no.
By the way, yes, I remember the last minute repeal of health reform legislation called “Section 89″ in the 80′s, but no part of that had gone into effect yet. Further, almost every day one-time Dem Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and Section 89 advocate Dan Rostenkowski was having his car pelted by marshmallows thrown by furious senior citizens.
Third, if anyone seriously tried to repeal Obamacare the media and political opponents would demagogue it endlessly in ways that would be nearly impossible to endure. Imagine headlines like, “Millions of Little Children Lose Hope for Life Saving Surgery” streaming day after day. Politicians know how toxic those kinds of headlines can be.
On the other hand, no matter the result of the coming elections, Obamacare will need the mother of all technical corrections. It cannot stand as is. I read the whole bill and amendments…all 2,300 or so pages. (It was triple-spaced so it was really like reading only 800 or so pages…a walk in the park so to speak.) There are too many serious flaws in the bill to discuss here.
The next election does count, however, as many of the details of Obamacare are left to “the Secretary” to flesh out. Whoever is named “the Secretary” will make all the difference. Let’s hope he or she is wise.
Note: Cracking Health Costs is a blog dedicated to providing commentary on current events in health care and health care funding. While this blog may be of interest to a broad spectrum of readers who are concerned about the state of health care today and in the future, much of the content is directed to employers, health plan sponsors, members of employee benefit plans, and anyone else concerned about ever-escalating health care costs.