"In a rational world beating White House industrial policy and allowing more consumer choice would qualify as a modest conservative victory. But some Republicans have convinced themselves that the only tolerable change to ObamaCare is to make it worse," read the piece published Monday evening by the Journal's editorial team, a bastion of pro-business conservative thought.
Some GOP lawmakers are upset because Republican leaders tucked the provision in the recent Medicare physician payment fix, which they passed by an unrecorded voice vote. It passed the Senate and was signed into law. Some conservatives want nothing less than full repeal, preferring that Obamacare's pain be felt broadly so as to boost demand for wiping out the law.
The Journal's editors -- who stress that they "support repealing ObamaCare as much as anyone" -- say the law won't be scrapped while President Barack Obama is in office.
"[S]ome conservatives have become so politically disoriented by ObamaCare that preserving its mistakes is more important than helping Americans hurt by the law," they wrote. "The theory seems to be that 'improving' ObamaCare will weaken the coalition for repeal and therefore the economic torture dials should be turned up to 11. If the law is more punitive and dysfunctional, more people will want to get rid of it in toto."
The now-repealed Obamacare provision imposed a deductible cap of $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families in small group insurance policies in and out of the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Business groups complained that the cap limited choices.
The Journal editorial comes as several conservative wonks warn that Obamacare probably won't collapse on its own, and that repealing the law is impractical unless Republicans coalesce around a replacement plan.