Ed Morrissey compiled a number of observations authored by other columnists on the news that Norm Coleman, a Mitt Romney advisor and prospective HHS Secretary in a Romney administration, recently voiced his support for maintaining Obamacare. Click here to read it in full or scroll down to read the highlights.
Mitt Romney adviser Norm Coleman, a former senator from Minnesota, predicted the GOP won’t repeal the Democrats’ healthcare reform law even if a Republican candidate defeats President Obama this November.
“You will not repeal the act in its entirety, but you will see major changes, particularly if there is a Republican president,” Coleman told BioCentury This Week television in an interview that aired on Sunday. “You can’t whole-cloth throw it out. But you can substantially change what’s been done.”
In fact, the entrenched legislative bureaucracy has a great deal to do with congressional disapproval in the public. Republican staffers want to inch the ball down the field instead of fighting. Democrat staffers are far more aggressive.
If a Republican gets into the White House and does not sweat blood trying to repeal Obamacare in its entirety (regardless of success), I predict the end of the Republican Party legitimately. It won’t be worth fighting for if the party itself does not think it worth fighting for its voters. If the GOP takes back the White House, it’s voters will expect a real fight, not a half-hearted attempt.
Update: The Romney campaign respondedthat while the candidate respects Coleman, he disagrees with this assessment, according to Ramesh Ponnoru. Ponnoru goes on to criticize the notion of partial repeal:
Getting Obamacare repealed will be very difficult. But it’s not clear what alternative Coleman has in mind, or could have in mind. Some Republicans have talked about getting rid of the law’s least popular provisions, notably the individual mandate, while keeping its most popular provisions, especially the command that insurance companies not take account of customers’ pre-existing health conditions. Coleman himself suggested that the courts might strike down the mandate and Congress might strike down IPAB (the Medicare cost-cutting/rationing board). But if the mandate goes, the insurance regulations have to go too: There’s no way insurance markets could work if you could wait until you were sick to buy insurance. The subsidized exchanges wouldn’t work either if people could jump on them when convenient. Take out IPAB, too, and all that’s left of Obamacare is the expansion of Medicaid. It’s hard to believe that you could build a legislative coalition to get rid of all of Obamacare except for that-especially since undoing that expansion would be key to any Republican bill’s claims to cut the deficit and thus to qualify for the “reconciliation” process needed to avoid a filibuster.
Obamacare could be tweaked by, for example, changing its funding streams. It could be moved leftward, through the introduction of a public option. Or it could be left alone entirely. Those are the options: Repeal, tweak, expand, or do nothing. Which option Republicans should choose is not a hard call.