The passage of President Obama's health-care bill and the Supreme Court's stamp of approval caused many conservatives to treat the 2012 election as their last chance to stop the legislation. Democrats were especially excited about their victory at the ballot box in part because it means the entirety of the Affordable Care Act will now go into effect. In both parties, the prevailing assumption is that the law is here to stay -- that once an entitlement takes effect, what Republicans call the welfare state and Democrats call the social safety net has been ratcheted one more click leftward, irreversibly.
Does Rep. Paul Ryan disagree? Speaking to the National Review Institute over the weekend, he suggested that the Republican Party's opposition to Obamacare is just beginning. "In the president's first term, we argued against big government in theory," he said. "In his second, we will argue against it in practice. Obamacare is no longer just a 2,000-page bill. Now, it's 13,000 pages of regulations. And it's growing. This year, the law will restrict our ability to use flexible-spending accounts. It will even raise taxes on life-saving medical devices. And that's just health care."