GOP’s ‘Repeal Health Care’ Plan Faces High Hurdles

By
Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 6:00 am
Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich (Cal Sport Media/ZUMA Press; Flickr)

Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich (Cal Sport Media/ZUMA Press; Flickr)

As soon as the Senate passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Dec. 24, Republicans and conservative activists started making a promise to voters. Give them a victory in the 2010 midterm elections, and they’ll repeal the bill.

“Every Republican in 2010 and 2012 will run on an absolute pledge to repeal this bill,” said Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House who remains a key strategic thinker for the party, on the Dec. 27 episode of “Meet the Press.”

“This has an unusual ability to be repealed, and the public is on that side,” said Max Pappas, the vice president of public policy at FreedomWorks, in a Dec. 28 interview with Avi Zenilman. “The Republicans are going to have to prove that they are worthy of their votes.”

[GOP1]The “repeal” pledge wasn’t anything new for the GOP. In August, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) promised that passage of health care reform would put Republicans back in charge on Capitol Hill in 2011 and put him in a position to repeal the bill. In September, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told conservative activists that a Republican Congress would “pass repealer bill after repealer bill” undoing the work of President Obama and the Democrats, with health care reform first in their sights.

But as Republicans gravitate towards a repeal message for the 2010 elections, they’re running up against the reality that health care reform would be prohibitively hard to roll back. According to conservative health care analysts, legal analysts, and political strategists, if President Obama signs health care reform into law, Republicans will have extremely limited opportunities to repeal any part of it.

“Anyone who thinks they’ll be able to repeal ObamaCare is kidding themselves,” said Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute. “If they want to stop it, they need to stop it now.”

In conversations with TWI, conservatives identified a few hurdles for a hypothetical, repeal-minded GOP Congress. The first is that in their most optimistic scenario, in which Republicans like Barton and Bachmann hold committee chairmanships, Barack Obama will be president, wielding a veto pen, until at least January of 2013. The second hurdle — one that Republicans aren’t considering, but Democrats are — is that once it passes, health care reform will win back public support. And the third hurdle is a provision of the bill that, according to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and other conservatives, may not ever be subject to new legislative oversight. The road ahead for repeal looks so daunting that many conservatives are looking at legal challenges, not GOP wins, as the most promising way to challenge health care reform.

Edmund Haislmaier, senior fellow in health policy studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation, was more optimistic than some about Republicans’ chances of repealing the bill, and said that candidates would be shrewd to run in 2010 promising as much. “Still, there’s always a danger of entrenchment,” Haislmaier told TWI. “Believe me, I’d rather have the thing not pass.”

Still, Democrats, in public and in private conversations with TWI, have been more specific about what parts of the bill they’ll campaign on than Republicans have been about what parts they’ll campaign against. In a Dec. 24 press release attacking Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), one of the few Republican senators viewed as potentially vulnerable in 2010, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee charged that Burr “will have to look North Carolinians in the eye and pledge to repeal health care reform which will have afforded coverage to 1.7 million North Carolinians, brought down costs for families and small businesses, ended appalling insurance practices, and lowered the deficit.”

Republicans, while talking generally about repeal, have not beaten back Democratic arguments about the most popular aspects of the bill — health insurance exchanges, a ban on denying insurance for pre-existing conditions, and filling the so-called “doughnut hole” gap in Medicare Part D funding. Much of their criticism focuses on the idea of a “government takeover” and on health care mandates that would not come into effect until 2013 or 2014. In a Dec. 27 interview on “This Week,” Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the bill a “big problem” for Democrats and claimed that “the surveys indicate the American people are overwhelmingly opposed to this effort to have the government take over all of their health care.” According to Democratic strategists, McConnell’s failure to get more specific, or to out-and-out promise that his party will repeal the bill, revealed that the party is not fully behind a “repeal” message.

“You attack the expansion of government,” said Ret. Lt. Col. Allen West, a Republican candidate for Congress in Florida whom the National Republican Congressional Committee views as one of its strongest challengers. “Improving and reforming our health care should not require more levels of government — health care exchanges, health care czars. We make that argument. That’s the way we start to peel the onion back.”

But West’s take on the “repeal” message gets into a matter that came up in the final days of the Senate debate, when DeMint claimed that Section 3403 of the bill would make it impossible for the Senate to ever abolish the newly created Medicare Advisory Board.

“We will be passing a new law,” DeMint warned in a floor speech, “and at the same time creating a Senate rule that makes it out of order to amend or even repeal the law.”

DeMint’s warning was quickly picked up by Rush Limbaugh, who told his listeners that “there are unrepealable aspects of the bill,” and that because those aspects “violated” the Constitution, conservatives would have better luck challenging the bill in court than trying to repeal it. Some conservative legal experts started laying the groundwork for such a challenge months before the bill passed in the Senate. In July, the conservative Federalist Society published a paper by Peter Urbanowicz and Dennis G. Smith which analyzed the possible avenues for a constitutional challenge to health care reform, such as arguing that a mandate violated the First Amendment’s right to freedom of religious expression, the “free exercise clause,” or the Fifth Amendment’s “takings clause,” which bars the government from seizing private property without payment. In November, Urbanowicz participated in a Federalist Society strategy session that delved deeper into the rationales for possible challenges. And on Dec. 21, this research informed an “memo to the movement” from the Conservative Action Project, a coalition of movement leaders that includes former Attorney General Ed Meese and FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe.

“We urge you,” wrote conservative leaders in their memo, “to make this point to members of the U.S. Senate—and if a bill passes the Senate to impress upon members of both chambers of Congress—that the key provision in the healthcare legislation violates the U.S. Constitution.”

“Once a bill like this is enacted, it’s difficult to repeal,” Urbanowicz explained to TWI. “If it passed, I can see any number of groups finding a way to challenge it in court. Any taxpayer could file this challenge. I think you’d see multiple challenges in multiple district courts, given the really novel nature of the law and the controversy with which it was passed.”

The constitutional challenge route, however, is a trickier, slower, and less dramatic response to the health care bill than a Republican pledge to repeal it if the party takes back Congress.

“If the Obama health plan becomes law,” said the Cato Institute’s Cannon, “we will never get rid of it.”

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Comments

45 Comments

GOP’s ‘Repeal Health Care’ Plan Faces High Hurdles | bling
Pingback posted December 29, 2009 @ 7:01 am

[...] back in charge on Capitol Hill in 2011 and put him in a position to repeal the bill.Source: The Washington Independent Bookmark / [...]


Chico
Comment posted December 29, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

Quickly picked up by Rush Limbaugh? Mr. Limbaugh hasn't even been on the air since two days before Christmas, over a week ago. But he does draw people to read the story, I guess.


David Weigel
Comment posted December 29, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

Uh, read the story–DeMint and Limbaugh made their comments on 12/21.


Greg
Comment posted December 29, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

I don't like it…it must be un-Constitutional.


pfceliot
Comment posted December 29, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

Of course Rush Limbaugh would be against health care reform, he doesnt want to have to share his vicodin with any more Americans than he has to.


tomKatt
Comment posted December 29, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

When will republicans STOP listening to Rush. He has ruined our party. I for one refuse to be a Limbot and will vote according to what we need. We needed Health care reform for a long time and had the chance to fix it during the last 7 years. The Insurance companies are the bad guys.


Wonk Room » Health Care Industry Coordinating Effort To Opt States Out Of Health Care Reform
Pingback posted December 29, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

[...] it’s unlikely that conservatives and their health care industry allies could repeal health care reform, (they are more likely to water-down certain elements of reform), a successful challenge would [...]


GOP’s ‘repeal health care’ plan faces high hurdles « Iowa Independent « theneointellectual
Pingback posted December 29, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

[...] Read more at The Iowa Independent’s sister site, The Washington Independent. [...]


USDefender
Comment posted December 29, 2009 @ 2:09 pm

If the Obama health plan becomes law,” said the Cato Institute’s Cannon, “we will never get rid of it.”
That is only one man's opinion. Others think the Democrat's frantic frenzied push for this health care takeover is a grave mistake because we all lose so much freedom and medical system progress. The government cannot even defend us from invasion or terrorists! Imagine how many will die or suffer if they get control of this very personal issue? Absurd stupidity to destroy quality and free enterprise, but a wipeout for the personal life wasted!
We may in fact win repeal by the fact we are 12.4 trillion in debt right now. In four years when it licks in the lies we've been told, along with the deaths that will occur because of the “transition confusion” will be enormous! The Obama Administration must be trying to destroy us. We may be saved, just by the facts of the issues we are not being told! We're broke, but our President is trying to spend money don't and vacationing in Hawaii. We are now 12.4 trillion in debt. Soon it will be twice that. Passing the Democrats wildly insane Health Care Bill is suicide!


Matthew Yglesias » Repeal Can’t Happen, Rollback Can
Pingback posted December 29, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

[...] Weigel has a good report on the repeal health reform movement: But as Republicans gravitate towards a repeal message for the [...]


Health Care Industry Coordinating Effort To Opt States Out Of Health Care Reform | No Bull. news service.
Pingback posted December 29, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

[...] it’s unlikely that conservatives and their health care industry allies could repeal health care reform, (they are more likely to water-down certain elements of reform), a successful challenge would [...]


Barry Crago
Comment posted December 29, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

Wake up. In Canada the cost for heal care is less, people visit doctors more often, and they live longer. When will you people realize that the profit motive and private insurance will never lower the cost of health care. The profit motive is what prevents Americans from having decent health care for everyone.

Why do thousands of Americans line up whenever there is a free clinic? Think about it.


Trusting business, healthcare edition « Later On
Pingback posted December 29, 2009 @ 5:54 pm

[...] it’s unlikely that conservatives and their health care industry allies could repeal health care reform, (they are more likely to water-down certain elements of reform), a successful challenge would [...]


Health Care Industry Coordinating Effort To Opt States Out Of Health Care Reform
Pingback posted December 29, 2009 @ 6:57 pm

[...] it’s unlikely that conservatives and their health care industry allies could repeal health care reform, (they are more likely to water-down certain elements of reform), a successful challenge would [...]


USDefender
Comment posted December 29, 2009 @ 9:19 pm

People get what it is worth when it's free! Nothing! People in Canada can do
as they please. Please tell them we will help them when they get in serious
trouble, if our health care system is not destroyed by the folks who want
somthing for nothing here! We may have no system at all shortly!


Health Care Industry Coordinating Effort To Opt States Out Of Health Care Reform | Pure Politics
Pingback posted December 29, 2009 @ 9:23 pm

[...] it’s unlikely that conservatives and their health care industry allies could repeal health care reform, (they are more likely to water-down certain elements of reform), a successful challenge would [...]


What Chances do we have to Repeal the HealthCare Bill? « Chicagobluesgirl’s Blog
Pingback posted December 30, 2009 @ 1:20 am

[...] What Chances do we have to Repeal the HealthCare Bill? According to conservative health care analysts, legal analysts, and political strategists, if President Obama signs health care reform into law, Republicans will have extremely limited opportunities to repeal any part of it. [...]


springman
Comment posted December 30, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

Pass it now, better yet… strengthen the package and then pass it.


springman
Comment posted December 30, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

Pass it now, better yet… strengthen the package and then pass it.


wiselatina
Comment posted December 30, 2009 @ 5:22 pm

I say don't worry about health care right now and start thinking of a way to move these useless hate filled do nothing conservative republicans to another country.


USDefender
Comment posted December 30, 2009 @ 9:33 pm

Wiselatina,
I say the people who want free health care have always been with us, and
the outcome has always been the same.
They are beggars, the world is full of them! They will not get anywhere
near what they think they will from this government
health care theft. We're broke! In fact, what they will get is their own
enslavement! Don't worry about the Republicans. We will survive.
We always have. We know how. We are the ones who have built and defended
this country throughout it's history!

Democrats are the ones who need to worry. They historically do illogical
things, and deficit spend money we do not have on social
programs we cannot afford or publicly sustain. Like this one, with this
insane Kennedy health care and tax legislation bill,
and other stupid moves, they will have finally bankrupted the United States!
They have unwisely forgot to consider the Democrats and the Unions will HAVE
TO
LIVE in the chaos they have created! Their foolishness has cost them
quality of life their own country!

We are 12 .4 trillion dollars in debt right now!
We cannot sustain payments on the debt because of what the 111th Congress
has already done. I think it is really sad Democrats are
so short-sighted, irresponsible and foolish…. They are so out of it they
are walking on thin air, and are hopelessly in debt!
No Money, Broke, Nada! We Republicans cannot save your butts this time! The
Democrats have taken it too far, you are screwed,
but we are too…


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Comment posted December 31, 2009 @ 12:00 am

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ccarjr
Comment posted December 31, 2009 @ 10:24 am

This bill does nothing to lower cost. It is a payoff to the groups that put these Democrats in office. The Lawyers and Union Bosses are the only ones who get any benefit from this monster. If Canadian health care is so great, why do so many come down here for treatment? They can't afford to wait 3 months to see a doctor, that's why. The problem with health care is COST! Cost keeps going up because of lawyers and people who do not pay. Get the lawyers out of the emergency room and put the illegals back in their own country.


wiselatina
Comment posted December 31, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

USDefender,oh please do enlighten us on what republicans have ever done for this country. I can answer that with one simple word…..NOTHING! Not a damn thing.And you claim its the democrats that spend, meanwhile not only have the last two republican presidents tripled the national debt, its the red states that are the ones sucking most of the money out of the government. Its also hilarious how all of a sudden you're concerned with the debt, but while under Bush, you spent and borrowed like drunken sailors and said nothing. You republicans are by far the biggest bunch of hypocrites and liars in this country, and the American people are finally starting to see that.


jqp
Comment posted December 31, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

Dear Sir/Madam,

If you educate yourself about the economics of healthcare in our country today, you will quickly find that your argument has no merit. Doing nothing about the current healthcare situation will cost far more, cause the closing of emergency rooms, and a further overall deterioration in our health care system. No one is arguing for free health care, they arguing for affordable health care. How about reading a little before posting your hostile, jingoistic nonsense?

If you take the position that poor people deserve to be treated with contempt because they “chose to be poor”, it would make more sense to argue that we should execute those people, so they dont cost us any money, except for the burial.

Arguing that we keep on the same course we are currently on, however, insures the bankruptcy you attribute to the health care reform. And that's not even mentioning the cost of the wealthy awarding themselves tax decreases and investing in “giving democracy” to Iraq at a cost to the US that measures in the trillions that we and our children can thank the Bush administration and the Republican party for. Needless to say, I am not looking to the Republicans to save my country.


santos34
Comment posted January 1, 2010 @ 10:53 am

It is morally wrong ,constitutionaly wrong and more than half of the country does not want it .. The constitution specifically forbids many parts of it and there is a movement to take bac k this country from the politically correct morons in change we'll see what happens .. If this bil;l is assualted on many levels the laws and changes enacted can be removed .. It is a take over and anyone who supports this is only motivated by money we knowet his already ..


Corporations betray America
Comment posted January 2, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

No, that argument makes too much sense. j/k

I really wish legally there was a way they could tie a public option to a defense bill, or to an omnibus bill. Since I've had a not so good history with the insurance industry, I really wish Congress would put on some steel toe boots and kick the industry in the balls with this bill.


Corporations betray America
Comment posted January 2, 2010 @ 8:30 pm

I agree, I actually think had the conservatives not railroaded the Republican in NY-23, they would've won that race. They're going too far to the right, and while it might win them some seats in '10, they'll lose it in '12, '14, and beyond. The demographics don't match up.


CHRISDAVE
Comment posted January 11, 2010 @ 12:22 am

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CHRISDAVE
Comment posted January 11, 2010 @ 12:26 am

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Janice
Comment posted January 12, 2010 @ 11:51 am

By the word “jingoistic” you give yourself away as a liberal and a fool. You have obviously been indoctrinated by the likes of liberal college professors who hate America and don't have a lick of common sense to boot.

Wake up!! Think for yourself!! This isn't about health care and it never was. It is about CONTROL. Our ancestors fought and died for the rights you would so foolishly give away.


Janice
Comment posted January 12, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

By the word “jingoistic” you give yourself away as a liberal and a fool. You have obviously been indoctrinated by the likes of liberal college professors who hate America and don't have a lick of common sense to boot.

Wake up!! Think for yourself!! This isn't about health care and it never was. It is about CONTROL. Our ancestors fought and died for the rights you would so foolishly give away.


flautistmaniac
Comment posted April 16, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

Please repeal the Health care bill!!!! Could this bill take away rights of a loving family to decide how long a relative lives and give it to the government? That is scary. Plus we cannot afford it. Most people can afford health care if they really want it. There is only about 3% of the population that cannot afford health care. We do have medicaid you know!!! The government cannot pay for it so please let us repeal it!!!


flautistmaniac
Comment posted April 16, 2010 @ 10:11 pm

Move them? These are your neighbors!!! You really hate people that much just for having a difference of opinion?


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Comment posted July 27, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

Please repeal the Health care bill!!!! Could this bill take away rights of a loving family to decide how long a relative lives and give it to the government? That is scary. Plus we cannot afford it. Most people can afford health care if they really want it. There is only about 3% of the population that cannot afford health care. We do have medicaid you know!!! The government cannot pay for it so please let us repeal it!!!


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Comment posted July 27, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

Please repeal the Health care bill!!!! Could this bill take away rights of a loving family to decide how long a relative lives and give it to the government? That is scary. Plus we cannot afford it. Most people can afford health care if they really want it. There is only about 3% of the population that cannot afford health care. We do have medicaid you know!!! The government cannot pay for it so please let us repeal it!!!


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Comment posted July 29, 2010 @ 4:32 am

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Comment posted August 3, 2010 @ 8:50 am

Please repeal the Health care bill!!!! Could this bill take away rights of a loving family to decide how long a relative lives and give it to the government?


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Comment posted September 2, 2010 @ 11:50 am

Democrats are the ones who need to worry. They historically do illogical
things, and deficit spend money we do not have on social
programs we cannot afford or publicly sustain. Like this one, with this
insane Kennedy health care and tax legislation bill,
and other stupid moves, they will have finally bankrupted the United States!


saundra
Comment posted November 11, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

your speach tells everyone, you are the hate filled person, and you should move to the country that has no freedon and you can bow down to your god, the goverment.


gaetano
Comment posted December 30, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

Well, wiselatina. for a starter, they freed the slaves.You are a complete idiot,and it shows in your name. Why don`t you change your name to,JUSTAMEXICAN.


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As soon as the Senate passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Dec. , Republicans and conservative activists started making a promise to voters.

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