Why the Health Care Bill Could Be Repealed -real hope for change

March 31, 2010 04:17

Here is why repeal is a real possibility.

By Sean Trende at Real clear Politics writes:

The punditocracy has recently been consumed with a debate over whether or not the Republicans will be able to repeal the recently-passed health care bill. Outside of self-professed conservative pundits, the conventional wisdom seems to be that the odds are prohibitively against repeal (or significant modification).

This Politico article typifies the attitude of those who doubt that repeal can be effectuated. It argues that the current outrage over the health care bill is merely a part of a “familiar pattern since New Deal days: Government programs from Social Security to Medicare that were launched amid incendiary arguments within a short time became sacrosanct – protected by a bipartisan consensus that was nowhere to be found at passage.”

This is certainly one possible outcome for the President’s health care bill, but it isn’t the only one. Here is why repeal is a real possibility.

1. This bill is substantively different than Social Security and Medicare.

My colleague Jay Cost made a critical point a few days ago:

Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson made use of an ingenious social insurance system – promoting the idea that we all pay in today to take out tomorrow. It was consistent with American individualism. It was simple. It was intuitive. It was bipartisan. Obama’s new system has none of those virtues.

This feature is what makes repealing or substantially modifying Social Security and/or Medicare so difficult. They are entitlements that are broadly given to the middle class, who also pays for them. To the extent these programs are redistributive, that redistribution is largely hidden. Everyone, from the poorest member of society to Bill Gates, has some stake in Social Security and Medicare.


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