Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

July 15, 2013

BRIAN HOWEY: Coats skeptical Obamacare can be repealed

Senator says GOP hasn't a proposal to replace it.

There is no question about it. Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Coats is an ardent proponent for the repeal of Obamacare.

Indiana’s senior senator believes it is crimping the economy, costing jobs, and places undue burdens and taxes on employers and medical device makers. He also knows that many of his Democratic Senate colleagues are petrified of the political impact.

On Wednesday, Coats joined 44 other GOP senators in asking President Obama to “permanently delay” the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The repeal is something Republican U.S. Reps. Marlin Stutzman and Luke Messer see as a distinct possibility in the next year or so as Obamacare is implemented and public support in the polls plummets. This was fueled last week when the Obama administration made a Friday evening bad-news dump on the U.S. Department of Treasury website that it was delaying implementation of the employer mandate until 2015, after the mid-term elections. It was a move that Coats called a “2014 political calculation.”

So is Coats expecting a repeal?

“What I don’t agree with is it will be repealed,” Coats said Tuesday. “It’s the president’s signature item. He has so much invested in it. He’s not going to let that happen.”

The precedence for repeal occurred in 1989 when Congress retracted the catastrophic health care plan forged by Health and Human Service Secretary Otis “Doc” Bowen and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in July 1988. President George H.W. Bush did not stand in the way.

Last month, Stutzman and Messer fleshed out the repeal scenario after the Republican House had voted for the 33rd time to repeal Obamacare, prompting questions about whether these were simply futile, political gestures. “Why I say that is we’re about to undergo next fall and winter and then next spring the full-blown implementation of Obamacare,” Messer said. “I think this is the last opportunity for the full repeal if there is a public outrage over the next several months.”

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