The Club for Growth’s Chris Chocola writes today that Republicans should make the 2010 and 2012 elections about repealing Obamacare if it passes. Sen. Jim DeMint and Rep. Jeff Flake have already responded by taking a pledge to support a repeal. As somebody who has spent much of my past year reporting on how destructive this legislation would be, I’m absolutely in favor of any efforts to repeal it, just as I favor constitutional challenges. I think that Americans should use any means available to stop this monstrosity. At the same time, however, I think that if the health care bill gets signed into law, it’s highly unlikely Republicans will be able to repeal it, or even major portions of it. Most Democrats won’t be eager to overturn the greatest domestic achievement of their party since 1965 — and you’d need to pass the repeal through the House, through the Senate with 60 votes, and then have the President sign it. To even seriously talk about repeal being an actual possibility, Republicans would likely have to gain 40 House seats, 20 Senate seats, and the White House in under three years. Even then, all of those Republicans would have to be onboard with the idea of repeal. So, while I think it’s certainly worth aiming for, opponents of Obamacare must also be thinking about ways to reform the system if the repeal effort isn’t successful.
At that time, it will be pretty clear that Obamacare was a disaster. Health care costs will still be rising, entitlement spending will be bankrupting our country, there will be doctor shortages, long wait times for care, and the quality of treatment will decline. At some point, there will be another national health care debate. Liberals will argue that Obamacare expanded coverage, but the reason why all the other problems still exist is that Democrats sold out on the public option, and ceded too much control to private insurers. When that happens, opponents cannot be caught flat-footed again — but instead have to be in a position to respond with well-thought out alternatives. Obamacare puts us on the trajectory toward a single-payer system, but it won’t get us there without further Congressional action. We’ll have to start laying the groundwork immediately to stop the Democrats’ next big push, which will happen years from now. And while repeal is worth fighting for, it shouldn’t distract us from debating a “Plan B” should that effort prove unsuccessful. I’ll have a lot more to say about it should Obamacare get signed into law.