With all the talk abuzz about an inevitable Hillary Clinton candidacy, I wager that her platform might quite likely include repealing Obamacare. Hillary is certain to declare late in the spring so that she can positively impact the midterm elections to benefit the Democrats.
What would Hillary gain from a repeal-Obamacare platform? Here's three things:
First, a "repeal-Obamacare" position would effectively neuter the Republican narratives of anyone running in 2014 (and possibly beyond). All the hand-wringing and fundraising, all the sob-stories and alarm bells about Obamacare would be utterly weakened if Hillary was out there saying the exact same thing.
Think about it: any Republican candidate on the same policy page as Hillary Clinton would be disastrous for that candidate. The Republicans are hoping for strong gains in 2014 -- possibly even taking the Senate -- and are banking on a fledgling Obamacare to do it. This objective could not be achieved with Hillary added to the mix arguing that Obamacare is not good legislation.
Second, a "repeal-Obamacare" position from Hillary would give vulnerable Democrats a free pass to sever close ties and loyalty to Obama. Obama is toxic right now; his popularity is in the mid ‘30s and his signature legislation is overwhelmingly disliked across the country. With Hillary jumping in, Democrats would be able to rally around a more popular and likeable Democrat (what Democrat doesn’t like the Clintons?). They could distance themselves from Obama and Obamacare without hurting the Democrat brand for the elections; Hillary enhances that brand right now much better than Obama can.
Finally, Hillary herself was intimately involved in health care reform after Clinton’s election in 1992. The legislation she helped champion via the Taskforce For Health Care Reform was aptly dubbed “Hillarycare”.
Twenty years later -- in comparison to what we've seen of Obamacare, does Hillarycare looks so bad? Maybe not to some people. Is this the alternative solution and finally Hillary’s day in the sun? Possibly, but not likely.
It is much more plausible that Hillary would take healthcare reform even further than Obamacare. Knowing the growing disdain for mandates and the insurance system that seems helplessly broken right now, Hillary would likely lobby instead for a single-payer system.
This is a dream of many progressives and Democrats. It would be presented as a "simplified" alternative solution to the byzantine problem that is Obamacare, at a time when the Republicans lack their own, strong Obamacare alternative.
Whatever the case, running on repealing Obamacare is a win-win for Hillary. She gets to directly impact and help the midterm elections for the Democrats. 6 years after her primary defeat against Obama, Hillary will emerge as the better, wiser, and more likeable Democrat (revenge is a dish best served cold?). And finally, Hillary will have the unprecedented opportunity to finish the healthcare reform she started two decades ago, since practically anything will be seen as better than Obamacare now.
Crossposted at www.taxpolitix.com