In my column for Thursday’s print edition, I argue that the failure of the Conservative Political Action Conference to dedicate a panel to health care this year was emblematic of why conservatives have lost the health care debate.
Over the past several years, as the debate over President Obama’s national health care law was raging, the largest annual gathering of conservatives held regular panel discussions on the topic. Not this year. Laura Rigas, a spokeswoman for the American Conservative Union (which runs CPAC), confirmed to me that although “health care and the associated budget-busting costs at the federal and state level will be addressed in a number of panels,” there would be no panel dedicated exclusively to the health care issue.
“Obamacare was obviously huge over the past couple of years, but Obamacare is done,” Rigas explained.
But in an email, Rigas writes that I “misunderstood” her statement and that when she said it was “done,” she meant that the bill had passed Congress. “Clearly the fight has just begun at the state and judicial levels. And, I urge you to look at panels from our past 3 regional CPACs over the past year. We have not abandoned the issue or the fight.”