Washington pundits appear startled to discover that Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposed federal budget achieves his goal of balancing the budget in 10 years by assuming the repeal of Obamacare—something that even the most stubborn Republican policymakers agree is not going to happen.
But as many commentators have pointed out, continuing to peddle the fiction that Obamacare will one day be repealed plays well with the Republican base, which abhors everything having to do with the President.
In the last two years, House Republicans 33 times introduced unsuccessful bills to repeal President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act. By one estimate, they wasted at least 88 hours of Congressional activity at a cost of $50 million — and probably greatly contributed to the 112th’s record for epic incompetence, passing just 219 bills, which was more than a hundred less than the previous Congressional record for lack of productivity.
On Fox News on Sunday, host Chris Wallace challenged Ryan, last year’s vice presidential nominee, on the logic behind his budget.
WALLACE: I’m going to pick up on this because I must say I didn’t understand it. Are you saying that as part of your budget, you would repeal, you assume the repeal of ObamaCare?
WALLACE: Well, that’s not going to happen.
In the National Journal, writer Jill Lawrence pointed out everything that would need to happen for Obamacare to be repealed: “[f]or repeal to be feasible in 2017, a Republican would have to win the White House in 2016; Republicans would need to hold their House majority, and Republicans would need a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate (15 more than they have now).”
And as many have pointed out, even if all of that happens, Republicans would still likely face an uphill climb because they most significant portions of the Affordable Care Act will have gone into effect in 2014. Generally, Americans don’t like giving up benefits once they start receiving them.
Even faced with common sense, Ryan wouldn’t budge. After Wallace noted that Obamacare is not likely to be repealed, Ryan said, “Well, we believe it should. That’s the point.”