When Congress passed President Obama's health care
reform legislation on Sunday
, it was in many ways merely one incremental victory
on the long road to health care reform. The path ahead remains difficult, and will require
many challenging political and policy choices for Democrats now enjoying their victory.
Here's what they're facing.
- Political Battle
Will Rage For Years The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny and Sherly Stolberg say the health
care debate is far from over. Many key provisions do not kick in for years, but
health care reform will be a key issue in many 2010 and 2012 elections.
Republicans will be on the attack and Democrats will have to work hard to sell
the reforms. With health care reform still hypothetical and repeal still a
possibility, the debate will be remain somewhat unchanged from before the bill
- GOP Begins Repeal
Campaign The Weekly Standard's William Kristol boisterously approves Republican
gestures at repealing health care reform. "Luckily, key parts of
Obamacare--especially the subsidies--don't go into effect until 2014. So what
Republicans have to do is to make the 2010 and the 2012 elections referenda on
Obamacare, win those elections, and then repeal Obamacare." He is joined by the
National Review and Wall Street Journal.
- How Repeal Would
Work Agence France-Presse's Olivier Knox explains that
it would be incremental, not an all-out repeal. "GOP 'repeal' push won't come in one big bill it'll
target individual items (Medicare cuts, tax increase). [...] push will also
leave alone the super-popular stuff, like the preexisting condition measure." He
notes they would need at least 50 or as many as 60 seats in the Senate, a bit of
- Will Dems Really
Cut Medicare? The New York Times' Ross Douthat notes that many of health care
reform's key cost-cutting measures come from reforming Medicare. But Medicare is
incredibly popular and the possibility cutting Medicare is politically
poisonous. Will Republicans begin running on a campaign to save Medicare? Will
Democrats be able to convince voters that their cost-control measures won't
reduce service? Or will Dems ultimately decide that the cuts are too difficult
and, in so doing, make health care reform unaffordable?
- Role of Government to Dominate
Debate Washington Post blogger Greg
Sargent predicts, "the real argument
underlying this fight -- this chapter in the larger ideological showdown over the
proper role of government in our lives, an argument that has taken mutiple forms
throughout our history -- is only beginning. There will now be an actual law that
frames and defines this debate." This national conversation will extend well
beyond health care.
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