I have previously expressed surprise that the Republican party had chosen Obamacare, of all things, as the issue that the were going to fight to the death, even though the dry details of a health care policy that actually is quite business-friendly are not the kind of things that press emotional hot buttons to arouse strong passions. That is usually the domain of GRAGGS (guns, race, abortion, gays, god, sex) issues.
But John Perr argues persuasively that the right wing has long been fearful that a successful health care reform package would prove to be so popular that it would cement Democratic party dominance for generations to come, the way that Social Security and Medicare did for previous generations.
At its core, the Republicans’ scorched-earth opposition to Obamacare has never been so much about “freedom” or “limited government” or any other right-wing ideological buzzword as it has been about political power, pure and simple. Now as for the past 20 years, Republicans have feared not that health care reform would fail the American people, but that it would succeed. Along with Social Security and Medicare, successful health care reform would provide the third and final pillar of Americans’ social safety net, all brought you by the Democratic Party. To put it another way, the GOP was never really concerned about a “government takeover of health care”, “rationing”, “the doctor-patient relationship” or mythical “death panels,” but that an American public grateful for access to health care could provide Democrats with an enduring majority for years to come.
He says that this was why the party mounted a massive, and successful, opposition to the previous attempt at health care reform during the Clinton administration (Recall ‘Hillarycare’?). However, this time the reforms passed and that is why there is a last-ditch effort to thwart implementation at the state level. What that is going to create is a system where states with Democratic governors and legislatures have better health care than states with Republican ones. How long that unstable situation can continue is unclear.