Yesterday, passing healthcare seemed so far away

On Friday, Barack Obama was a one-term President.  The Democrats were swimming upstream against the political current, weighed down by an unpopular health care bill.  Scott Brown’s election meant that the Republicans would sweep the fall elections.

Today, the details of the health care bill are quite inconsequential: despite the fact that many Americans are saying they’d support a candidate who pledged to repeal the deal, Obamacare is now the law of the land.

If you can get past the needless potshots at conservative talk radio and other efforts to prove he’s really one of the cool kids, David Frum’s piece on CNN makes a few tidy points about how hard a straight repeal is:

Some Republicans talk of repealing the whole bill. That’s not very realistic… Will they vote to reopen the “doughnut” hole for prescription drugs for seniors? To allow health insurers to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions? To kick millions of people off Medicaid?

Kudos to Frum for the correct spelling of the word “doughnut” – and for laying several policy proposals to fix the bill that was passed last night.

He gets some of the policies wrong, but he gets the big point right: that the one-word campaign of “Repeal!” just won’t cut it.  Republicans will need to have a plan in place to do things Obama promised to do with his health plan – especially reducing cost and expanding access.

Obamacare’s opponents can no longer arguing against an unpopular proposal; they now must argue against an existing entitlement.  Polls may show that many voters opposed the health care overhaul last week, but those who would change the policy must now fight a different battle altogether.

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