What happens when the mantra fails?

Yet another policy decision that Romney is flip-flopping on is healthcare. At some points he says:

“Well of course I’m going to repeal Obamacare… I’ve said that on the campaign trail, I think, every single day. Obamacare must be repealed… It’s bad policy [and] it’s bad law… I have my own health care plan. Obamacare is a disaster in my opinion, and has to be repealed entirely.”

But at other times he says:

I am “not getting rid of all of health care reform… There are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place.”


“Romney’s birther problem”

Not only does Romney contradict himself in his plans for healthcare reform, but he also claims to have the power to repeal it:

“On Day 1 of my administration, I’ll direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states. And then I’ll go about getting it repealed.”

First, Romney says that he will grant waivers. Can he grant waivers?

Technically, yes. But he cannot grant waivers for all 50 states, AND he cannot grant waivers until 2017… Which is obviously beyond the scope of his first term, if there even is a first term.

Second, Romney says that he will then move on to repeal Obamacare (either in its entirety or in part depending on when you talk to Romney).

To be able to repeal Obamacare as promised: Romney would have to win, Republicans would have to have a majority in Congress, and Congress would have to file a budget reconciliation and a budget resolution. This seems remotely possible, even if Romney isn’t elected. The budget reconciliation, despite taking much time, would also be relatively easier to pass considering that it “can’t be filibustered and needs only 51 Senate votes rather than the usual 60”.

The problem with a budget reconciliation, as mentioned, is that it takes so long to actually go into effect. “Since 1980 Congress has passed 19 budget reconciliation bills. The one that moved fastest got signed into law May 28, 2003. (A few took more than a year to become law.)

 So once again, we come across the problem of time. In 33 years, 1 out of 19 budget reconciliations was passed and signed. That is pretty dismal, and that is without factoring in how incredibly complex the healthcare bill is. 

But there is still a third barrier to the repeal: the courts. Tom Miller is “a lawyer with the conservative American Enterprise Institute”. He states that even if Romney does issue waivers or takes other actions, the courts can halt the action, especially after the recent Supreme Court ruling that upheld many of the provisions.

In sum, Romney wants to repeal Obamacare, which is based largely off of his own healthcare bill, even though it is totally unfeasible within the confines of his potential first term.

Is Romney justified in claiming this? Support for the repeal of Obamacare is at 54% as of October 29. Technically, yes, Romney is justified in claiming this.

There are some problems though: How much do these voters know, not only about Obamacare itself, but also about Romney’s healthcare plan and its effects in Massachusetts? How much do voters know about the methods of repeal?

There isn’t a repeal-button that Romney can push instantly after his election. Campaign promises, especially promises concerning issues as hotly contested and widely known as healthcare, could potentially hurt Romney’s presidential mandate and his electoral support. At the same time, what types of policy will Romney replace it with? If Romney is elected next Tuesday, it will be fascinating to watch the public’s reaction to whether or not he takes action on his campaign mantra. 

– Shelby King


About rowlanda12

This is a blog about the 2012 presidential election. Content is generated by students in Professor Heldman's Politics 101 class. She does not necessarily endorse the views expressed here.
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