Opinion Brief

Should Republicans back down on health care?

With the public's opposition to the health-care law waning, pushing repeal could get risky for the GOP

As House Republicans launched debate this week on repealing the health-care law, public opposition to President Obama's signature legislative achievement may be softening. A new poll finds that 40 percent of respondents say they support the law, which would expand coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans, while 41 percent oppose it. (By comparison, after the November midterms, only 38 percent supported it and 47 percent were opposed.) Only one in four Americans now want to scrap the law entirely. Should the GOP cool its fervor for repeal? (Watch an AP report about health care opposition)

After the symbolic House vote, the GOP should drop repeal: Even if the House pushes this "charade" through, says Dan Amira in New York, "the hilariously named 'Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act'" will be stopped in its tracks in the Senate. The GOP should drop the matter after this "symbolic protest" — otherwise, Republicans will actually have to come up with a viable approach.
"Republican health-care repeal charade will please only one in four Americans"

No, repeal is a winning issue for Republicans: It's "wishful thinking" for liberals to dismiss repeal as a stunt, says Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post. The House will pass it, and then red-state senators "will be forced to vote again and again on the deeply flawed legislation." During the debate, the public will find out how problematic the law is — and how the $1 trillion price tag we've been sold is a low-ball lie.
"Going after Obamacare"

This is an opportunity for both sides: Predictably, the House's Republican majority will pass repeal, says Barbara Shelly at McClatchy Newspapers, then it will die in the Democratic-controlled Senate. But that's when both parties can rise above the rancorous debate and act like adults — honoring calls for civility that followed the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and "negotiating a health care detente." Perhaps, for instance, they can find a better alternative to mandated coverage, one of the main "sticking points."
"Now's the time to debate health care like adults"

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