The likely next Speaker of the House says he plans to block the health care reform law by withholding money needed to implement it after November's midterm elections. "I am committed to doing everything that I can do and our team can do to prevent 'Obamacare' from being implemented," says Rep. John Boehner (R-OH). But with some key reform measures already taking effect — including a rule against denying coverage for children with pre-existing conditions — how realistic is the GOP plan to derail Obama's health care law? (Watch a PBS discussion about the health care law)
The GOP can and must block Obamacare: The courts should eventually "find this takeover of the health insurance industry to be unconstitutional," says Don Surber in the Charleston, WV, Daily Mail. In the meantime, "starving it out makes sense." With a Democrat in the White House and only a thin majority in Congress, "this will be a protracted battle that likely will shut down the government frequently." But "so be it" — the GOP must stop Obamacare at all costs.
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This is a losing battle for Republicans: The GOP will quickly regret shutting down the government over health care, says Kevin Drum in Mother Jones. The showdown "would give President Obama a perfect soapbox for talking endlessly about all the benefits" of his reform law, and, thanks to the "drama of a shutdown," people would actually start listening. Ultimately, the GOP will have to back down without accomplishing anything, except maybe making the Affordable Care Act "popular for the first time in its existence."
Chipping away at the reforms is the GOP's only option: The best way for Republicans to "deal a mortal blow" to health care reform is to take back the White House in 2013, says Carrie Budoff Brown at Politico — although by then many "major benefits" will be on the verge of kicking in. So this "nibble-around-the-edges strategy" may be their only hope. Choking off funding is "hardly a quick fix," but if they stick to their guns they could at least "weaken the law," and put Democrats in the uncomfortable position of defending reforms that have "yet to win broad public support."
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