The Politics Of Calling For Repeal of Health Care Reform

While they are unable to govern, conservatives have certainly won the spin war on issues ranging from the stimulus to health care reform. They have fooled many into believing that Barack Obama raised their taxes when he actually lowered them, and that Obama rather than George Bush is responsible for the current deficit and unemployment. They have large percentages of the population believing the stimulus did not work, largely because they had no qualms about making such false claims during the year it took for us to have good evidence of how successful it was. By distorting the content of the health care legislation they have large numbers of people saying they oppose the bill despite agreeing with its content when asked specific questions.

At the moment the Republicans appear far stronger than we would have expected a year ago, but some political strategists believe that the “repeal the bill” mantra might backfire against them. Some Republican candidates are even backing away from “repeal the bill” cries:

For Republicans, urging a full repeal of the law will energize conservative activists whose turnout is crucial this year. But it also carries risks, say strategists in both parties.

Repeal is politically and legally unlikely, and some grass-roots activists may feel disillusioned by a failed crusade.

“It’s just not going to happen,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said of repeal in a speech Wednesday. “It’s a great political issue,” he said, but opponents will never muster the 67 votes needed in the 100-member Senate.

Over the next few months, Democrats say, Americans will learn of the new law’s benefits, and anger over its messy legislative pedigree may fade.

Republican leaders are moving cautiously, wary of angering their hard-right base. In recent public comments, they have quietly played down the notion of repealing the law while emphasizing claims that it will hurt jobs, the economy and the deficit.

Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said his team began pressing Republican candidates months ago to state whether they support repeal of the health care legislation. Most of them have, and Democrats plan to use it against them this fall.

“You never want to wage a campaign telling voters you want to take something away from them,” Menendez said.

In Illinois, where there’s a spirited battle to fill the Senate seat Obama once held, Kirk recently said he would “lead the effort” to repeal the measure. But on Tuesday, when asked repeatedly by reporters whether he still wants it repealed, Kirk would say only that he opposes the new taxes and Medicare cuts associated with the law.

While Democrats would be in an ever worse situation of they could not pass anything, health care reform can still wind up to be a political liability. I believe that attacks on health care reform will work in the favor of Republicans, even if they back away from calls to repeal the bill, for these reasons:

  1. While there are some immediate benefits, most changes from the health care reform bill will not be seen for a few more years
  2. People will not see that the false claims of the Republicans about health care reform are untrue for a few more years
  3. The bill does not fix all problems, and from now on Republicans will blame any problems with health care on Obama and the Democrats, regardless if this year’s legislation has any bearing on the problem
  4. Republicans and the right wing noise machine are far better at distorting the truth than Democrats are at explaining their policies


  1. 1
    Mike Hatcher b.t.r.m. says:

    @Ron – Asking for your scrutiny of a particular article.  When something looks so “obviously” vindicating of a conservative point, I get suspicious and am confident you can show me an angle I might have missed.  The following link says to me: the legislation is bad and will be a job killer:   How valid do you consider this source and/or info and of course what conclusion do you draw? (No doubt, different than mine.) 🙂

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    These are the calculations put out by the companies and I bet are greatly exaggerated. The changes are to close loopholes which were essentially examples of corporate welfare. They are allowed were two tax deductions for the same expenses–one for the employer’s own contribution, and another on tax-free federal subsidies.

    As one example of why I don’t take their complaints too seriously, Boeing is complaining but they pay a trivial amount in federal taxes due to all the breaks they get. Boeing’s tax rate was just 3.2 percent on average over the last 4 years and just 0.7 percent averaged from 2002 to 2007. Boeing’s three-year effective tax rate from 2001-2003 was -18.8 percent. They paid no federal income tax in 2009 and received $132 million back from the IRS. In 2008, Boeing paid just $44 million in federal income taxes while having earnings of $2.7 billion.

    Health reform will create jobs, not kill jobs. It will make American companies more competitive with foreign companies. It will also reduce the burden on small companies of providing health care coverage allowing them to hire more. It will enable entrepreneurs to leave large corporations and form their own companies when their health care coverage is no longer tied to their jobs. It is our former health care system, not the reformed system, which stifles business and kills jobs.

    The question here is not one of killing jobs but of whether you think the role of government is to provide corporate welfare, or whether companies like Boeing should have to pay their fair share of taxes like everyone else. I bet they will do just fine even after losing these tax loopholes.

  3. 3
    SteveTaff says:

    » The Politics Of Calling For Repeal of Health Care Reform Liberal … – Freedom

  4. 4
    Jeff and Sharon Reed says:

    » The Politics Of Calling For Repeal of Health Care Reform Liberal …: While they are unable to govern, conservat…

  5. 5
    Mike Hatcher b.t.r.m. says:

    As always, thanks for the feedback.  I don’t know how you get such detailed information on Boeing but I appreciate it.  Of course now that I know what I’m looking for, Boeing’s tax liability for the past years, it is a lot easier to find it.

  6. 6
    HealthCare Shake-Up says:

    #HealthCareShake » The Politics Of Calling For Repeal of Health Care Reform Liberal …

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:

    Boeing’s tax liability is reported right in their annual reports.

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