How long will opponents fight Obamacare? How long have you got?

August 23, 2015
David Koch arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York

Businessman David Koch arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit celebrating the opening of “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” in New York, May 5, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

If there’s one thing that exasperates Tim Phillips, the president of the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, it’s when outsiders don’t understand he’s in it for the long run.

The group, founded by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch, has been around for 10 years already, and its presence is growing. Each time the number of people signed up to volunteer for AFP reaches a certain threshold in a state, AFP opens a field office there. It now has offices in 33 states, and at its national Defending the American Dream Summit on Friday and Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, Phillips joked that he was ready to accompany the handful of volunteers from Hawaii back home to do the difficult task of opening an office there.

In an interview Saturday, Phillips made it very clear: There’s no chance AFP is going to give up on its efforts to repeal President Barack Obama’s healthcare legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

“When I said long-term, I meant it,” Phillips said. “We have never stopped.”

Congress passed the healthcare legislation in 2010 and it took effect just under four years later. The Supreme Court has since ruled twice its provisions were constitutional in cases challenging it. The U.S. House of Representatives has voted many times to repeal it, but none of those efforts has made it all the way through Congress. Public opinion polls show a majority of Americans are in favor of keeping it, and Congressional Budget Office projections show it lowering government expenditures on healthcare in the future. But Phillips has a different perspective.

“The Left has been pushing for government-run healthcare since the 1920s,” he said. He doesn’t think AFP’s struggle will have to last that long.

“We’re in year six of a healthcare battle.” he said. “It’s may be a 10- or 12-year battle.”

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