Ann Coulter noted today that any Republican effort to overturn Obamacare by legislative initiative by or means of a government shutdown would be futile. The president would veto any successful legislation and the Republicans would lose the politics if the government were to shut down. Coulter said the first priority of Republicans is to win elections. She suggested that implementing Obamacare could fuel its own demise. She predicts (correctly I believe) that it is such an economic catastrophe that it will inspire a groundswell for repeal if Republicans control the Congress.
Up to a point, I believe her analysis is correct. Health care premiums are already up significantly. More and more employers are leaning toward dumping coverage and paying the non-compliance fine. But four years from now, the program will have beneficiaries and those people, while they object to Obamacare in practice, will want those benefits replaced.
I don’t think President Obama ever believed that his health care reform was financially viable. If the financial house of cards falls apart, his fix will move toward single payer, the direction that he wanted to go all along.
The path suggested by Ann Coulter will work if the Republicans keep control of the House and regain the Senate in 2014. By 2016, it will be too late. At that point, the beneficiaries will have expectations and any ensuing reform will be more likely to expand the program than curtail it. In 2016, the sign above the bar may read Obamacare, but the Republicans will own it.
Obamacare is a financial nightmare that will implode shortly. The Senate voted today to overturn the medical device tax. Coupled with the rescission of the Class Act, two major sources of Obamacare funding have been eliminated and will have to be replaced. The government premium support obligation increases as premiums rise. The feds clearly expected all the states to set up their own exchanges and they did not make adequate provisions to fund their current obligation. So, the ship is sinking and the only thing keeping it afloat in the short term is borrowed money.
The Coulter strategy will work if the Republicans sweep the mid-term elections. If we don’t, the fix may be something even worse than we face now. If the Republicans don’t sweep the mid-terms, Obamacare will never be repealed or cut back. Gambling everything on the mid-terms is risky but currently the House Republicans lack either the stomach or the will to unite behind some alternative.