Analysis: Defunding Obamacare Should Be Reformers’ First Priority

Published May 31, 2016

In a national poll released in late July, Rasmussen Reports found public support for repealing President Obama’s health care law holding steady at 58 percent. Although the continued level of support for repeal is positive news for those who want reform, the survey also found only 48 percent of respondents believe repeal is likely, a 10 point gap that could hurt anti-Obamacare forces in November.

Obamacare is certainly one of the most important issues driving voters in this election. However, if a significant majority of voters do not see repeal as a realistic possibility, as the current polling gap suggests, they are less likely to be active and turn out to vote, and the possibility of rolling back this sweeping, irresponsible reform will grow dim.

As history shows, a few votes can make all the difference in the election of one Congressman, which this year may decide not just who holds the Speaker’s gavel but also who will control the future of Obamacare.

Short-Term Realities

Voters must understand the likelihood of defeating Obamacare in the short term through the budgetary process is greater than the likelihood of repealing it in the long term.

Most are smart enough to realize repealing the law will demand an amenable president, which won’t come until 2013 at the earliest, and requires a filibuster-proof Senate, which could be a decade or more away. These obstacles make repeal unlikely and will leave voters disappointed if they hope for such an unrealistic result.

Instead, those who oppose Obamacare should define the debate in terms that can be achieved in the short term, goals that can make a significant contribution to defeating Obamacare.

Attacking the Funding

Defunding the health care law is the most immediate and effective solution in the short term. If a majority of representatives in either chamber of Congress want to defund Obamacare, they have the power to do so by simply refusing to allocate funds for it.

Without the funding necessary to implement and enforce the law, it cannot take effect to any great degree.

If a significant number of candidates for seats in the House of Representatives this year pledge to achieve this goal, voters will have more assurance that the law can indeed be effectively defeated in the near term. And unlike the promise of repeal, this is a promise Congress could feasibly deliver in short order.

Alex Cortes ([email protected]) is chairman of, an organization advocating the defunding of ObamaCare.