Monday, March 22, 2010

RomneyCare Junior, if they can keep it


US Senator Claire McCaskill, talking about ObamaCare last week before its passage in the US House of Representatives yesterday:

It's not going to be popular by November; it's not going to be popular by November of 2012. It'll be popular 10 years from now.

That's about the size of it. ObamaCare will be as snug a bug in the "safety net" rug by 2020 as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid already are.

David Frum gets it right for once as well:

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the "doughnut hole" and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there -- would President Obama sign such a repeal?

Yes, Republicans will piss and moan about ObamaCare -- which, never forget, is just a crib of MassCare, a/k/a RomneyCare; Republican pols would have largely supported if it hadn't been Democrats pushing it -- this year and in 2012, as they attempt to take back Congress and the White House.

By 2014-16, they'll be ignoring it.

By 2025, the GOP's conservative faction will be hinting that it was their idea in the first place, eulogizing Barack Obama for fulfilling the legacy of Ronald Reagan in pushing it through, and pledging to defend it (as a Uniquely American Institution®, no doubt) to the death. The GOP's "libertarian" faction will be proposing some kind of complicated voucher or credit system to make it more "efficient."

There's one "if" in play: All this is likely true if the US government as we know it survives until the dates mentioned. The idea that it might not isn't as unlikely as it probably sounds, but I doubt ObamaCare will be the particular straw that breaks that camel's back.

Contra the Republican Pundit Army (Peckerwood Populist Battalion), there's nothing especially novel about ObamaCare. It's not a dramatic departure from the longstanding bi-partisan policy trend of expanding the welfare/warfare state at huge expense and in fuck-silly manner. In fact, it's pretty much business as usual (see Medicare Part D -- or the Wars on Everyone and Everything We Can Think Of -- for example).

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