Krauthammer to GOP: Don't Defund ObamaCare

I get what he’s saying — that Democrats will use defunding to blame for its ultimate failure — but put me down as resolutely against Charles Krauthammer’s gambit.  That gambit is, Republicans should fund ObamaCare, watch it fail, and then kill it.

A question arises, though: Just how long should they wait?  The Great Society/War on Poverty programs are both massive liberal failures.  Lack of funding has never been their problem, they’re just bad policies.  But decade after decade, they keep getting funded because, once implemented, they took root.  Today there’s no meaningful constituency for ending those policies.

ObamaCare could reasonably be expected to do two things if it’s funded.  One, bad policy or not, it will take root and create dependencies.  And two, it will grow, get bigger, take over more of the health care system, force more insurers out, encourage more and more doctors to retire, etc., to the point that it has effectively become so entrenched that it can’t be killed off without significant pain for the American people.  The Democrats have openly banked on both occurring, so that they will have the excuse to expand it so that it becomes a single payer system.  Don’t take my word for it.  Listen to this guy.

> There is another aspect to implementing ObamaCare that Dr. K leaves out, but bears mentioning, and that is its expected impact on the states.  Texas alone has estimated that ObamaCare will saddle it with $27 billion in expenses which aren’t currently accounted for.   The Heritage Foundation says that ObamaCare amounts to a “fiscal timebomb” that threatens state budgets all over the country.

For Mississippi, Milliman estimates that between 206,000 and 415,000 people will be added to Medicaid, with a 10-year impact on the state budget of between $858 million and $1.66 billion. The seven-year cost of the Medicaid expansion in Indiana is estimated to be between $2.59 billion and $3.11 billion, with 388,000 to 522,000 people joining the state’s Medicaid rolls. Finally, Milliman estimates that Obamacare will result in nearly one of five Nebraskans being covered by Medicaid at a cost of $526 million to $766 million over the next decade.

So there is a great deal more than just the retail politics and the optics to consider here.  ObamaCare threatens to crush state budgets, in a time when many states are already struggling and several, such as California, are flirting with bankruptcy.  Texas is considering dropping out of Medicaid just to fight off the ObamaCare threat.

And then, there’s the politics.  If the Republicans rode to victory in 2010 on a message of thwarting Obama and his big government agenda, only to play games with ObamaCare in 2011 in ways that may allow his signature legislation to stand, they’re toast.  There will be a third party, and it will come from an angle that hurts Republicans and empowers Democrats.  Bank on it.