Former House speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting in Washington last month. REUTERS/Larry Downing (LARRY DOWNING/REUTERS)

But even if Republicans can’t get to repeal, Gingrich said, the bill is doomed because GOP House leadership will refuse to fund it.

“He can block them from repeal,” Gingrich said at an event in Washington this morning. “I don’t think he can coerce them into funding.”

Gingrich, a likely 2012 presidential candidate, predicted that the unpopularity of the health care bill would make it close to impossible for the president to veto a budget that didn’t fund his health care reforms.

“The president would have to go to the country and say, ‘I’m going to veto this bill on behalf of more spending, a bigger deficit and a bigger Washington bureaucracy,’” Gingrich said. “I think that Speaker [John] Boehner and Majority Leader [Eric] Cantor are absolutely committed to refusing the fund the implementation of Obamacare.”

Gingrich, a leading policy mind for the GOP over the last two decades, noted that unpopular reforms have generally had a short shelf-life in American history.

Of course, if Obama is reelected, he would have veto power over any repeal of the bill, which would mean Republicans would need to explore alternatives.

Whether the bill is repealed, defunded or struck down in the courts, Gingrich said, it’s on its way out.

“The best you’re going to get is a real mess, from the standpoint of the left,” Gingrich said. “And the worst you’re going to get is total repeal.”