Ross Douthat engages in some fantasies about what the GOP could do if they were able to repeal and replace the healthcare bill, all the while conceding that the chances of that happening are slim.
What Republicans need is a different kind of incremental approach, one that uses the strongest conservative critiques of the health care bill as a framework for a reform of the reform. If Obama is defeated in 2012, this framework could easily be adapted into a full scale repeal-and-replace effort. But in the event that he’s re-elected, it would offer a Republican Congress a blueprint for improving the law without doing away with it entirely.
It’ll never work. Not because the bill will be repealed, but because the Republicans will never agree to reforming the reform in the first place. To do so would be to admit that they have to live with the law, and they’ll never do that. Compromise and adaptation is for the other guys.