Republicans are serious. Hopeful of picking up substantial numbers of seats in the Congressional elections, they are developing plans to try to repeal or roll back President Obama's new health care law.
This goal, though not fleshed out in a detailed legislative proposal, is much more than a campaign slogan. That conclusion emerged from interviews with a wide range of Republican lawmakers, who said they were determined to chip away at the law if they could not dismantle it.
House Republicans are expected to include some specifics in an election agenda they intend to issue Thursday. Although they face tremendous political and practical hurdles to undoing a law whose provisions are rapidly going into effect, they are already laying the groundwork for trying.
Pear explained the Republicans planned to go after specific provisions, like requiring employers to offer insurance to employees or pay a tax penalty and repeal the law's requirement people buy health insurance.
The Washington Post on Monday detailed  some of the not-so-positive consequences of Obama-care missed by Pear: "Some of the country's most prominent health insurance companies have decided to stop offering new child-only plans, rather than comply with rules in the new health-care law that will require such plans to start accepting children with preexisting medical conditions after Sept. 23."
And some of the "hurdles" Pear identified to the repeal of the highly unpopular Obama-care had an ideological tinge:
The law responds to a genuine need. The Census Bureau reported last week that 50.7 million people were uninsured in 2009, an increase of 4.3 million or nearly 10 percent over the previous year.
The health care law saves money, by the reckoning of the Congressional Budget Office, so Republicans would need to find ways to achieve equivalent savings if they repealed the law. (The budget office affirmed last month that the law would "produce $143 billion in net budgetary savings" over 10 years.)
Judging by recent polls, a lot of the people who allegedly "need" health reform don't want any part of Obama's, while Pear's cost assumptions (and faith in the CBO's numbers) are out of date, as health insurance premiums are rising  in the wake of the legislation's enforcement.
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