A Quinnipiac poll reports that by a 52 to 39 percent margin voter think Congress should repeal ObamaCare. By a 50 to 39 percent margin they think the Supreme Court should overturn it.
This is problematic for the Democrats on many levels. First, should the Supreme Court not strike down the law, the Republicans will not only have conservative ire to propel them in the election, but a solid clarion call that will resonate with a majority of voter. Second, it suggests that Obama won’t be able to use his “historic” achievement to rally voters. Republicans can accurately claim that the president devoted years to passing an unpopular (and possibly unconstitutional) bill, rather than tending to the economy. And finally, it puts all the Democratic senators who voted for it (they are all the 60th vote) on the hot seat. Be prepared to see a lot of “60th vote” ads in key senate races.
Now, if Mitt Romney is the nominee, the unpopularity of ObamaCare makes his job in attacking it easier. He can honestly say that in his state the majority of people liked the healthcare plan that they got, but in the country at large a majority is unhappy with ObamaCare.
This does not mean, however, that the argument should stop there.
In the debate Romney stated his objections to ObamaCare: “One, I don’t want to spend another trillion dollars. We don’t have that kind of money, it’s the wrong way to go. Number two, I don’t believe the federal government should cut Medicare by some $500 billion. Number three, I don’t think the federal government should raise taxes by $500 billion and, therefore, I will repeat Obama Care.” That’s a start, but there are three other policy arguments to make.
First, ObamaCare is not doing and won’t do, by the administration’s own admission, what it was intended to do: Bend the cost curve on health care downward. Just as we now all understand that the CLASS Act was unsustainable, we now can agree that healthcare costs won’t be tempered by ObamaCare.
Second, the methodology on which the administration is relying — empowerment of the 15-person Independent Patient Advisory Board — will not cut costs. It will simply eliminate or curtail care. It’s hard for some on the left, it seems, to understand that cutting how much the government pays for something won’t affect the underlying, real cost of the service. It is for this reason that such health care schemes eventually must rely on rationing to survive.
And finally, the mandate on contraception is the perfect example of why ObamaCare inevitably leads to government overreach and diminished personal liberty. Once the government tells you to buy insurance and that it must be more than a catastrophic, high-deductible plan, every medical service — not simply contraception — is micromanaged by the government. What you must buy, what your employer and your insurance company must cover and what the taxpayer must subsidize then become bureaucratic decisions by the federal government. If this wasn’t apparent to some at the inception of ObamaCare (conservatives certainly understood it, but others plainly didn’t), it surely is now.
Conservatives shouldn’t bank on the Supreme Court to do their work for them. ObamaCare, or parts of it, could well survive the Supreme Court’s review. It is important therefore to continue to make the policy arguments as to why the legislation is unwise, unworkable and unaffordable. Moreover, conservatives need to let the public know what the alternative to ObamaCare may be. If, unlike Obama, Republicans care about getting a mandate for their agenda, they would be wise to start laying out what a market-oriented alternative to ObamaCare would look like.