March 23, 2010 Leave a comment
Smarter Republicans (there's a phrase I don't use often) are already realizing that it is politically untenable to ask for a full repeal of the bill. To wit, John Cornyn (via Steve Benen):
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn
(R-Tex.), who's responsible for the Senate GOP's election-year strategy,
told the Huffington Post he doesn't
quite see it that way.
"There is non-controversial stuff here like the
preexisting conditions exclusion and those sorts of things," the Texas
Republican said. "Now we are not interested in repealing that. And that
is frankly a distraction."
What I think most Republicans simply fail to understand it that this idea is quite simply, impossible. An individual mandate, which seems to currently so enrage Republicans, is essentially part and parcel of eliminating preexisting conditions exclusions. To take away the mandate and leave this in is a recipe for: 1) shocking increases in health care premiums; and 2) the health insurance industry fighting like you wouldn't believe. That's why repeal can never happen– not only is it bad policy, it's even worse politics.
[C]onstitutional scholars suggest that such cases would
likely amount to no more than a speed bump for health care legislation.
The reason, they say, is that Congress has framed the mandate as a
tax, which it has well-established powers to create. And Congress's
sweeping authority to regulate the nation's economy, they add, has been
clear since the 1930s.
"The attack on this bill," said Jack M. Balkin, a professor of
constitutional law at Yale University, "is not merely an attack on the
substance of this particular measure. It's also a challenge to
understandings that come with the New Deal."
But in the meantime, an Ezra
Klein observation bears repeating: "[L]et me propose a new rule: No
conservative who supports these legal challenges can complain about
activist judges ever again."