Ben Domenech | ObamaCare at Three: Headed Toward Failure?

Today’s the three year anniversary of the final House vote on Obamacare. It  is one ugly toddler, and its first steps are turning out to be disastrous. But  is it here to stay?

From the beginning, there were three ways to replace Obama’s signature  domestic policy achievement. The first and best option was that you could  replace it by winning an election – and it would have to be a definitive win,  not just the White House but the Senate, too. Republicans utterly failed to do  this. Second, you could count on the Supreme Court to gut its central support  mechanism, the individual mandate. Thanks to John Roberts, this also failed, but  not utterly, since the surprise 7-2 decision allowed states the freedom to block  the Medicaid expansion, a massive entitlement increase which made up the bulk of  the coverage increase under the program. But after both of these failures, the  general chorus in the media is that the right has to give up on repealing  Obamacare altogether – that it should accept it and work to implement it. See  the recent  complaints from Nita Lowey and others about the lack of funding for  implementation, who will certainly cite this as the reason for a clumsy launch  of the online systems this fall.

They seem to have forgotten about the third path: the right can replace  Obamacare if it fails. And thus far, it gives every indication of failing. It  has contributed to growing premium costs. Its budget impacts have been revised  only in a negative direction (indeed, the only positives have been from fewer  states implementing the Medicaid expansion). It has already been stripped of one  mathematically and actuarially unsound entitlement. Most Republican governors  have no interest in helping implement a program they believe to be ill-thought  from its inception, and even Democrats don’t want their fingerprints at the  state level on exchanges and Medicaid expansions their systems can’t handle.


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