“The Republican counter to the Clinton plan, sponsored by Republican Senators Bob Dole (R-KS) and John Chafee (R-RI), is now known as Obamacare. Moreover, the largest extensions of Medicare came from our most conservative presidents, Ronald Reagan (catastrophic coverage) and George W. Bush (prescription drugs). If the fledgling Obama reform survives, Republicans may very well feel the pressure to defend, protect, and even expand it.”
Somebody, somewhere just fell out of their chair. But, again, this is all true. Here’s the thing: party platforms do shift over time. Today’s conservatives are ultra-conservative by comparison to their predecessors. If you don’t believe me, read this. So, the fact that the health care reform that, with a great deal of compromise–even if it was all within the Democratic party–became law, looks so much like Republican plans from the Nineties isn’t too far-fetched.
The most interesting thing, though, is that the passage of health care reform means a new status quo. And, as the quote indicates, after enough water has passed under the bridge, people will be less concerned with which party passed the original legislation and more concerned with what’s happening with it today. Even though not a single Republican voted for the bill, they probably won’t find it too popular to repeal. In fact, several polls are already bearing that out. On the contrary, they’ll probably feel compelled to leave their mark on the program. After all, if they can expand the program when they’re in power, they’re likely to be all for it and the political capital it will garner them. As I’ve said before, a lot of the opposition stemmed not from opposition to the substantive policies, but from an aversion to letting the other team score political points.