True, there is virtually no chance at this point that the Republicans' repeal bill will be taken up by the Senate, which remains under Democratic control. And even if it were to pass there, there is no doubt that President Obama would veto any attempt to overturn or even water down his keystone achievement. That has many Democrats, and many in the media, deriding the Republicans' move as purely symbolic.
It is not. What it has done is to keep the issue alive and ensures that it will be a major factor in the fall 2012 races, when the Senate clearly will be up for grabs - as well as the White House.
Interestingly, virtually none of the Democrats who voted to implement Obamacare was brave enough to make it a centerpiece of their re-election campaigns last fall. They likely realized how unpopular it had become. This is a rare case - a virtually unprecedented one - of the public turning up its nose at a promised entitlement. Indeed, polls have shown repeatedly that the more people learn about Obamacare, the less they like it.
They realize it will be ruinously expensive for the country. Claims otherwise by Obama and Nancy Pelosi are based on budget manipulations of "Three Card Monte" brazenness, counting six years of expenditures against 10 years of revenues to pretend Obamacare will reduce the deficit.
Obama promised that those who like their existing insurance can keep it under Obamacare - but that's true only if one's employer is continuing to offer it. And Obamacare is designed to give employers every incentive to stop offering insurance and thereby shift those customers onto the public roles.
That said, the Republicans must do more than just cry "No mas!" They cannot just offer a return to health care the way it was. In truth, many Republican leaders advocate a variety of needed changes, such as making health insurance portable from job to job; giving people the ability to buy it across state lines; allowing small businesses to pool their risk in order to get the same price discounts offered to big companies; and letting people set aside more of their paychecks tax free to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Those proposals are not new, but Republicans must do a better job of presenting them and explaining them to the public, which has been told by Democrats and the Big Media that the Republicans "don't have a plan."
The Republicans should have plenty of time to make that argument, as this likely will be a long fight. The Democrats on Capitol Hill were willing to go to any and every extreme to pass Obamacare, and will certainly fight just as hard now to defend it, regardless of what most of the public desires. The public has no desire for deeper deficits and resulting higher taxation. It has no desire for a government takeover of a huge chunk of the economy. And it certainly has no desire for lower-quality health care, which is what the president's makeover will relentlessly bring.
It is therefore crucial that this fight be fought, and that it be won by the foes of Obamacare.