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Yes, We Can Repeal Obamacare

That’s what Jim Antle argues at the Daily Caller. He doesn’t necessarily expect that that GOP, or chastened Democrats, will repeal it, but he points out that it simply is not true that entitlements are never curtailed — and he cites the story of the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act passed in 1988 as proof:

The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act was nevertheless repealed a year later. No change in partisan control of Washington was necessary—the repeal was passed by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by another Republican president, George H.W. Bush. The repeal turned out to be most popular with the elderly voters who had demanded the new benefits in the first place.

Why? In addition to creating new benefits, the reform also imposed staggering new costs. Those costs fell most heavily on the senior citizens who were supposed to be the program’s biggest constituency. But, congressional Democrats were astonished to learn, many of these seniors were happy with their existing coverage and resented having to pay a new tax to fund this expansion of government—costs which kicked in before many of the benefits.

Read on for some interesting parallels with the Tea Party movement. Then as now, “Members of Congress also had to hear from angry mobs opposed to the legislation, otherwise known as their constituents” — although those protesters were Democratic-voting senior citizens.

I still doubt the GOP leadership would have the will, even if this November they could attain the means, to overturn Obamacare. Doing so, after all, might well energize a liberal base that has so far been lukewarm to the legislation itself. Progressives now are disillusioned because they didn’t get the public option. They might come to a new appreciation for the “Affordable Healthcare Act” if they feared Republicans were going to take it away — and really, who expects the GOP to have the fortitude to take anything away? For decades Republicans have preferred to try to out-pander the Democrats to their own constituencies, hence elite GOP support for amnesty for illegal immigrants, increasing funding to the Department of Education, and the prescription drug add-on to Medicare. If the Republicans do tinker with Obamacare, that record suggests they will only make it more expensive, intrusive, and generally worse. But maybe the Tea Parties really will transform the GOP — “hope” for “change” springs eternal on both sides of the partisan spectrum.

about the author

Daniel McCarthy is editor at large of The American Conservative. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, The Spectator, The National Interest, Reason, Modern Age, and many other publications. Outside of journalism he has worked as internet communications coordinator for the Ron Paul 2008 presidential campaign and as senior editor of ISI Books. He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied classics. Follow him on Twitter.

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