Right now Republican strategists are plotting how they’ll make good on their campaign promise to halt the president’s healthcare overhaul – and early indications are they have the power to tie it up in red tape.
With control of the House and several new governorships, it looks like the GOP can slow down the reform process substantially.
First things first: It’s important to note that outright repeal of the law is highly unlikely anytime soon.
Even though the GOP holds the House, it’s still the minority in the Senate – so legislation to wipe away the law probably won’t pass. And even if it did, President Obama still has veto power, and the GOP doesn’t have the votes to override his veto.
So repealing the law would be tough unless Republicans got control of the White House – which is certainly the party’s main goal for 2012.
Gum up the works
What’s more likely is the GOP will use its new muscle to cut off funding for the law. This could slow implementation to a crawl.
Some areas the GOP plans to target, according to The New York Times:
- Republican lawmakers said they would propose limiting funding and the personnel available to the Internal Revenue Service to hinder its ability to enforce the requirements that people obtain health insurance and employers help pay for it.
- GOP leaders also said they plan to use spending bills to block insurance regulations they object to.
There’s another card the GOP can play. It hopes the new Republican governors can delay full implementation of the law by:
- lobbying state congressional delegations to change the law
- making formal applications for waivers to some of the law’s mandates, and
- dragging their heels on setting up “insurance exchanges” the states are required to have in place by 2014.
Gear up for 2012
Republicans are also hoping to use their new power to challenge unpopular sections of the law, forcing Democrats to vote to defend them.
The goal: drum up enough public animosity for the bill’s Democratic supporters that the Republicans can gain even more seats in Washington (and possibly take over the Senate) in 2012 – when the real showdown over health care is likely to take place.
Do you think – or hope – the Republicans will have any success in slowing down the law’s implementation? Share your opinions in the Comments Box below.