Yglesias is convinced Romney will easily repeal the whole enchilada if he is elected. Frum thinks quite otherwise, and I find his logic fairly compelling:
Second even if Republicans do win the White House and Senate in 2012, how much appetite will they then have for that 1-page repeal bill? Suddenly it will be their town halls filled with outraged senior citizens whose benefits are threatened; their incumbencies that will be threatened. Already we are hearing that some Republicans wish to retain the more popular elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Which means the proposed 1-page bill will begin to grow.
Third, Mitt Romney has promised to grant states waivers from the obligations of the ACA. Not all states will ask for such waivers. Many will eagerly institute the ACA, which (let us not forget) includes large immediate grants of federal aid…
Fourth, Republicans will find the task of writing their “replace” law even more agonizing than the Democrats found original passage. The party has no internal consensus on what a replacement would look like. Worse, any replacement of the law’s popular elements will require financing. But where is that money to come from? …
Fifth, the clock is ticking. President Obama passed the ACA in the second year of his administration. A President Romney will have to pass repeal in the first year of his, because the law goes into effect in 2014. By then, states will have to have their exchanges up and working. And states that have put themselves through that work will not be very eager to see Washington undo it. If replacement does not happen in the first 100 days, it won’t happen at all—that is,
This makes a lot of sense to me. I do think the politics of a straight-up repeal are horrible for Republicans. Nonetheless, I do love the simplicity of Chait’s rebuttal:
Could a President Romney, working with congressional majorities, succeed in repealing the law? David Frum and Ryan Lizza argue that he couldn’t. Both of them, I darkly suspect, underestimate the sheer destructive will to power undergirding what has become a bloody shirt crusade for the GOP.
Anyway, here’s hoping that Frum and Lizza are right and that Yglesias and Chait are wrong (on the bright side, Chait was convinced Pawlenty would be the GOP nominee).