The multi-year fight over President Obama’s health care law has perhaps reached its climax.
Approved along partisan lines in Congress and then adjudicated before the Supreme Court, the law known simply as ‘Obamacare’ has now prompted a government shutdown.
The Republican gambit may end up costing more than just the $40 to $80 million a day the government bleeds every day it’s closed down, however. It could also come with steep political costs for opponents looking to change or repeal the law.
Lanhee Chen, former policy director for presidential candidate Mitt Romney and a research fellow at the conservative-leaning Hoover Institution, calls the Affordable Care Act a “fundamentally flawed” policy that changes the environment for providing health care and has the potential to greatly increase costs for consumers.
Chen says he supports an outright repeal of Obamacare.
Nonetheless, he believes the current tactics being used to try and kill the law could undermine Republican efforts for repeal in the long-run. Especially, Chen contends, if there is voter backlash in the midterm elections.
“For Republicans there are significant political implications,” he said. “As difficult as it is for a lot of Republicans to see this maybe now, I do think that if you look at it historically the party that governs Congress tends to be the party that gets blamed for these sorts of things.”
Following the last government shutdown in 1995-96, Republicans lost the presidential election and maintained roughly the same representation in Congress.
In this instance, the GOP would need to not only retake control of the Senate but also collect a veto-proof, two-thirds majority in 2014 to have a shot at repealing the law.