Can Obamacare Be Undone?

National Review Online:

Two years ago, President Barack Obama signed his landmark health-care legislation into law. We’re still learning what’s in it, and approaching an election that will result in our digging deeper into a bureaucratic takeover of our most intimate, life-and-death decisions. Or we’ll repeal it. Is there life after Obamacare?

John Goodman

There are numerous structural flaws in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Each is so potentially damaging that Congress will have to resort to major corrective action to address it in the absence of repeal. Here’s a revenue-neutral approach to begin the necessary corrections: Delay the scheduled cuts in Medicare spending by five years and pay for that expense by delaying the (2014) start date of Obamacare by two years.

This makes sense: Almost no state is ready for the scheduled 2014 opening of the state health-insurance exchanges. A majority have not even tried to get ready. In addition, a reason to delay the draconian cuts in Medicare physician fees is that all of the pilot programs designed to achieve efficiencies are producing negative or lackluster results — forcing Medicare to fall back on a requirement to reduce doctor and hospital fees to such an extent that access to care for the elderly and disabled will be severely impaired.

Without a mandate, the insurance exchanges would collapse under the weight of people gaming the system. However, a weakly enforced mandate is like no mandate at all. If the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate, it may be a blessing in disguise for the administration — allowing both parties the opportunity to get back to work and ultimately replace Obamacare with something that will work.

— John C. Goodman is president of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

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