Mitch McConnell says that repealing Obamacare outright is probably unrealistic, but Republicans will nonetheless try to chip away at it:
But with Mr. Obama sure to block any repeal bill passed in the Senate and Republican-controlled House, Mr. McConnell indicated that Senate Republicans will turn their attention to peeling back “pieces of it that are deeply, deeply unpopular with the American people.” He cited the law’s tax on medical devices, its requirement that big employers provide insurance to all workers clocking 30 hours a week or more or pay a fee, and its mandate that most Americans carry insurance or pay a fee.
Let me get this straight. McConnell thinks a 2.3 percent tax on manufacturers and importers of medical devices is deeply, deeply unpopular? He thinks a requirement that employers provide insurance for anyone who works more than 30 hours a week is deeply, deeply unpopular? He thinks the individual mandate is deeply, deeply unpopular?
OK, I’ll give him the last one. The individual mandate is moderately unpopular. Of course, it’s also crucial to the functioning of the law, and McConnell knows perfectly well that Obama won’t allow it to be repealed. So that leaves the device tax and the 30-hour rule. The former is mostly opposed by medical device lobbyists, while the latter is mostly opposed by medium-sized businesses who want the ability to cancel health coverage for workers merely by reducing their workweek to 39 hours. My wild guess is that neither of these things is deeply, deeply unpopular with the American people.
But they are unpopular with interest groups that Republicans care about. So they’re on the chopping block.