U.S. Chamber of Commerce on "REPEAL!!": Stick a fork in it, it's done.
A top official at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Thursday that the fight against Obamacare is largely over and that critics' energies were better spent fixing specific problems caused by the landmark healthcare legislation.
"There is a growing realization that repeal won't happen," Randy Johnson, the chamber's senior vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits, told reporters during a Thursday press conference. "Some of the Republican proposals [relating to Obamacare] reflect this."
The nation's biggest business lobby was a staunch opponent of the legislation that created the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Johnson said the Chamber hadn't changed its opinion of the bill but did not see a viable path toward repeal. Instead, he said the most fruitful path involved legislation offering "targeted" changes to specific parts of the law.
"There is no unscrambling the omelette," Johnson said.
None of this should come as a surprise to anyone who's been paying attention, of course. As I noted right after the Supreme Court's King v. Burwell decision back in late June:
Personally, I’m actually not particularly concerned about [the ACA being repealed] … I’m among those who believe that at this point, even if the GOP manages to sweep the House, Senate and White House next year, they still won’t actually make good on a full repeal of the ACA “root and branch” as Mitch McConnell keeps vowing … I truly think that it’s already too firmly entrenched in the American economy and healthcare system in too many areas to be destroyed.
A month later, over at healthinsurance.org, I noted that even FOX News seems to have finally seen the writing on the wall:
I could be wrong, of course. Perhaps FOX will indeed devote 30 minutes to an Obamacare Hatefest in one of their future debates. But the fact that they barely mentioned it at all tonight was far more significant than any questions they might have brought up about it.
Ted Cruz and some other GOP politicians may still be clamouring to “make 2016 a referendum on repealing Obamacare,” but unless I’m mistaken, FOX News has finally accepted reality: The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.
Don't get me wrong: The GOP will still continue to attempt to find ways to pervert the ACA, just as they're still trying to "privatize" Social Security and Medicare, and they'll still try to slash funding (probably indirectly via Medicaid funding at the state level...note what just happened a couple of weeks ago in Arkansas, for instance). And it's still conceivable that a complete sweep of the 2016 election could result in ACA repeal...but I find that highly unlikely at this point.
The Affordable Care Act is the Status Quo now. There's still a couple of major cogs to fall into place--the medium employer mandate and so-called "Cadillac tax" go into effect over the next year or so, and will no doubt be controversial...but otherwise, the ACA is now settling into place as the default healthcare system for the United States, for good or for bad.