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Republicans Shouldn't Go Soft on Obamacare Repeal

3:05 PM, Jan 6, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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In an otherwise fine editorial, the Wall Street Journal writes that, after Republicans vote for Obamacare's full repeal (next week), they should "attack ObamaCare piece by piece," by "restor[ing] funding for Medicare Advantage" and passing other bills of that nature – which, the Journal writes, would "perhaps even force Mr. Obama to use a veto or two." But such advice ignores the important fact that attempting to repeal Obamacare piece-by-piece gives Obama the chance to improve it piece-by-piece – and to make it look (somewhat) bipartisan in the process.

Republicans Shouldn't Go Soft on Obamacare Repeal

It's fine to send President Obama partial-repeal legislation (if it were to get through the Senate) that he effectively can't sign because it would fatally undermine Obamacare as a whole -- for example, repealing Obamacare's individual mandate. And it's fine to repeal the onerous 1099 requirement, which even Obama has more or less admitted should go and which has little to do with health care in any event. (There's no need for the GOP to be obstructionist by refusing to take Obama up on his implicit offer to scrap this provision.) 

Likewise, Republicans should by all means pass bills to defund Obamacare, while conducting extensive oversight hearings – on such topics as why taxpayer dollars are shamelessly being spent on ads to promote Obamacare.  Moreover, they should put forward a replacement bill that would lower health costs, and change the tax code so that the uninsured don't continue to be about the only people in America who have to try to buy health insurance with after-tax dollars.

However, Republicans should be extremely careful not to send any partial-repeal bills to President Obama that he'd be wise to sign, hoping that he'll be foolish enough to pass on the opportunity to make his centerpiece legislation more popular and thereby to enhance his reelection prospects and the chances of Obamacare's ultimate survival (which are one and the same). A bill repealing the Medicare Advantage cuts is exactly the sort of thing that Obama would be wise to sign and which therefore should not be sent to his desk.

Republicans should keep it simple: Obamacare was passed as "comprehensive" legislation – how many times did we hear that noxious term? – and it needs to be repealed comprehensively.

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