Steven Hayward at Forbes Magazine makes a bold prediction: that ObamaCare will be repealed well in advance of the 2014 elections:
Senate Democrats endangered for re-election will lead the charge for repeal perhaps as soon as January, after they get an earful over the Christmas break. They’ll call it “reform,” and clothe it in calls for delaying the individual mandate and allowing people and businesses to keep their existing health insurance policies. But it is probably too late to go back in many cases. With the political damage guaranteed to continue, the momentum toward repeal will be unstoppable. Democrats will not want to face the voters next November with the albatross of Obamacare.
The politics of the repeal effort will be a game theorist’s dream. Tea Party Republicans will resist “reforms” to Obamacare in favor of complete repeal. Democrats will try to turn the tables and set up Republicans as obstacles to reform, hoping to inoculate themselves prospectively from mayhem at the polls next November. The House might want to insist that the Senate go first; after all, it was the Senate version of the bill that the House had to swallow after Scott Brown’s election in January 2010. The House can rightly insist that the Senate needs to clean up the mess they made. Obama may well give Capitol Hill Democrats a pass on a repeal vote, and veto any bill that emerges. He’ll never face the voters again.
This wouldn’t be the first time that a health care entitlement was repealed. The same thing happened in the late 1980s with catastrophic coverage for seniors. Because seniors were made to pay for their benefits under that scheme, the uproar forced Congress to repeal the measure barely a year after it went into effect. Obamacare looks to be on the same political trajectory, and for the same reason. Obamacare represents the crisis of big government; the limits of administrative government have finally been breached. For the first time ever, some polls are showing a majority of Americans doubting the goal of universal health coverage.