We don’t have to wait until we have a Republican in the White House to rid this nation of the shackles of Obamacare. We can do it next year if we win simple majorities in one or both houses of Congress.
The Obama health care bill was an authorization measure which established a program and set down its parameters. But authorization bills are not appropriations. Each year the Congress must act on appropriations for each department and agency in the government. If no funds are appropriated, nothing can be spent.
So if Republicans take the House (where appropriations have to originate) – and especially if they also take the Senate – they will have the capacity to zero fund Obamacare, appropriating not a dime for it in their spending bills. Indeed, they can and should include a specific amendment to their appropriations bills banning the expenditure of any of the funds on Obama’s health care program.
In the wake of the passage of the health care bill, states are filing lawsuits and talk of repeal is in the air. Both are useful efforts. But litigation takes time and the key challenge – to the constitutionality of the requirement that everybody buy insurance – cannot even begin until it takes effect in 2014. And repeal will obviously be impossible as long as Obama wields the veto from his Oval Office. It would be impossible mathematically for the Republicans to get a two-thirds majority in the Senate and unlikely in the House, so an override is out of the question. Repeal will have to wait until 2013, after Obama’s defeat in 2012.
But zero funding can happen immediately after the Republicans take Congress. All this makes the elections of 2010 critical. If we can stop this bill from getting off the ground, it will be possible to repeal it when we take over the White House. But if the Democrats keep their majorities, the program will be so entrenched by the time we defeat Obama that its repeal would be unlikely.