The Slow Dismantling of Obamacare

| January 11 2013
Christopher Cook

With Chief Justice Roberts’ dubious decision on the individual mandate and Barack Obama’s reelection, the conventional wisdom is that Obamacare is here to stay. But is it? In addition to some more drastic measures that are still on the table, there is also the notion that it might suffer a death of a thousand cuts, as various unworkable provisions of it—and there are a lot of unworkable provisions of it—are excised.

One of them already has been:

Even Democrats in Congress aren’t huge fans any more. It seems after passing the law and finding out what’s in it, the allure has faded—so much so that Congress actually repealed part of Obamacare in the fiscal cliff deal last week.

That’s right—part of Obamacare has been completely undone. It was the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, essentially a new entitlement program for long-term care. But this new government program for people who end up needing assisted living or other long-term services was poorly designed and bound to fail,  as Heritage’s Alyene Senger explains.

“CLASS was a bad deal for both taxpayers (who would likely have had to bail out the program) and beneficiaries (who would be better served by choosing among private options),” Senger wrote.

The program was so poorly designed that one of its own administrators warned Congress in 2011 that the program could collapse.

But then there’s another that may follow on right behind:

This is just one example of how poorly thought out Obamacare was—but this example so captured Congress’s attention that it spurred action. Another part of Obamacare that just took effect, the medical device tax, started making some Senators uneasy before it was scheduled to begin.

A group of 18 Senators, including such outspoken Democrats as Al Franken (MN), John Kerry (MA), Charles Schumer (NY), and Debbie Stabenow (MI), asked Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to delay the tax, which falls on every item used in medical treatments, from stents to syringes, IV tubes, and prosthetics.

When one sees Al Franken, John Kerry , Charles Schumer , and Debbie Stabenow all opposing something, the sensible person’s kneejerk response would naturally be to support it. But in this case, Franken, Kerry , Schumer , and Stabenow are actually on the correct side. The medical device tax is so bad that even they have figured it out.

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