NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Putting The Brakes On ObamaCare

August 25, 2010

If Republicans take control of one or both houses of Congress this fall, many will have been elected with a promise to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare.  But what are their options, asks Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute?  

Here are three key strategies that a Republican Congress could employ to put on the brakes -- 

Defund it: 

  • House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio has vowed to choke off funding for implementation of the legislation, starting with parts that are especially egregious such as the "army of new IRS agents" needed to police compliance.
  • While Republicans could target the most damaging provisions of the legislation and tie their defunding measures to appropriations legislation that the president wants and needs to sign, they'd better be ready for battles.
  • When former House Speaker Newt Gingrich lost a stand-down with President Clinton over closing down the government in 1996, it was widely seen as a setback for GOP efforts to scale back big government.  

Dismantle it: 

  • To focus committee action and floor votes, Republicans can look for provisions in the law that Democrats are on record as opposing.
  • For example, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) has said that the new federal program to fund long-term care -- the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, or CLASS Act -- is "a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of."
  • Conrad and five of his Democratic colleagues sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) before the legislation passed opposing the program and expressing "grave concerns" about its fiscal sustainability. 

Delay it: 

  • Republicans can also vote to postpone cuts to the popular Medicare Advantage program, postpone mandates requiring that individuals and businesses purchase and provide health insurance, and delay imposition of the $500 billion in taxes required by the law.
  • Obama wouldn't likely sign such legislation, but the debate would shine a light on problems that haven't received nearly enough attention. 

Source: Grace-Marie Turner, "Putting the Brakes on ObamaCare; How a Republican Congress could begin the process of repealing this unpopular law," Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2010. 

For text:  


Browse more articles on Health Issues