Betsy McCaughey writes in the New York Post,
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the No. 4 House Republican, is walking back comments attributed to her that ObamaCare can’t be repealed. But she’s not the only one suggesting Congress merely make changes within the framework of the health law. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says the goal is to get the law “fixed.” It seems many GOP lawmakers still haven’t read the law, or they’d know the framework is corrupt.
Even Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) speculated Friday that repeal is unlikely because it will be “difficult to turn the clock back.”
McCaughey goes on to propose why the Affordable Care Act is unfixable. She also argues that it was designed to recruit Democrat voters more than provide a workable insurance program. Her editorial is well worth reading.
But even if someone didn’t agree with her case, I think there is still reason to believe that promising to fix the Affordable Care Act is an extremely dangerous move. Leaving aside my visceral feeling that such a promise is a betrayal of conservatives, let me try to explain the political and practical problem.
Obamacare is a huge complicated plan to deal with a huge problem. So “fixing” it requires another huge complicated plan. By promising to “fix” Obamacare, Republicans are saying that Big Government can work and that the only problem, until now, was that the Democrats were running the show.
But what if Obamacare isn’t fixed by whatever plan we cook up? (Indeed, what if it is beyond fixing?) Once the Republicans have promised to fix the thing, the failures of the Democrats will be completely forgotten. Even though the law may still be called “Obamacare,” from that point on all blame will be assigned to the GOP.
So, unless the Republicans can construct a law that works well enough to be considered a popular success, they will be destroying themselves by taking responsibility for fixing the law.
Thus, demanding repeal is not some “ideological” position. It is truly the only practical and political position that the Republicans can take as rational politicians.