The big news and silver lining for Republicans last week from the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare is that the mandate was declared by SCOTUS to be a tax. This is seen as a silver lining because now Republicans are going out in force calling Obamacare the largest tax increase in the history of the United States. Rush Limbaugh declared it to be the largest tax increase in the history of the world. This has become their key strategy going forward into the 2012 elections: brand Obama as a huge tax raiser, and hope the people vote him and enough Democrats out of office so they can repeal and replace Obamacare.
The question is, will that work? My answer is no. I will go out on a limb now and say that Obamacare will not be repealed. The reason I believe this is two-fold. One, Republicans absolutely have to sweep all branches of government to have a chance at repealing Obamacare. That is a mighty tall order to accomplish. Now, they have a lot of advantages going into this election. Unemployment is still over 8% for the time being, and generally people feel like the economy is struggling. That is a major plus for Republicans this election, but I don’t think it will be enough to enable them to sweep all branches. Looking back at the debt ceiling debate and the payroll tax cut fiasco, Republicans really hurt themselves by coming off as hypocritical and unwilling to work with Democrats on anything. Those things will be in the back of people’s minds come November and I think they will prevent a complete sweep.
Two, even if Republicans do somehow sweep all branches of government by narrow margins, then you have the debate on whether or not to repeal a plan that is in the middle of being implemented and provides benefits that even Mitt Romney agrees needs to be in place. So even if they repeal Obamacare, their replacement will have parts of Obamacare in it. Then comes the problem of what to replace it with. That is a MAJOR problem because even after two years, Republicans do not have a plan to replace Obamacare that everyone is behind.
I cannot emphasize how important that last part is. After two years, Republicans do not have a plan to replace Obamacare with should they repeal it. That to me shows a severe lack of leadership in the Republican party. My hope was that Mitt Romney, in response to the Supreme Court ruling would have announced his plan for a replacement. After all, he’s had two years to come up with a plan. Unfortunately, he did not do that and instead his response was quite uninspiring.
When you add all these things up, Obamacare is looking like it will have a healthy future (pun intended). Will it be modified and adjusted? Almost certainly. But repealed and replaced? Doubtful.