Former N.Y. Gov. Pataki Announces Plan to Repeal Health Care Law

Former New York Gov. George Pataki announced Wednesday the creation of a national organization that will work to repeal the Democrats' health care overhaul, which he called a "horrific" and costly bungle.

Pataki said his nonprofit group, Revere America, will develop a grassroots network and highlight national opposition to the health care law, which he believes will impose a $500 billion burden on U.S. taxpayers and tighten government control of the health care system.

"I can't recall anything remotely like this in my lifetime," Pataki told He said the law was passed in the face of substantial opposition from the public and hastily rammed through Congress by its chief architects, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"We can't just roll over and accept it as a fait accompi. That's what I think the president, Pelosi and Reid thought would happen," Pataki said. "We're going to fight, mobilize and get this repealed."

Pataki, who served three terms as New York's governor, from 1995 to 2007, said he hopes to raise $15-20 million this year to run Revere America, which is being organized as a tax-exempt lobbying group. He said the effort will target the online and social media communities, though some of the funding will also cover national ads targeting the law for repeal.

"We want to get at least 1 million signatures and e-mail addresses from people across the country who believe that Obamacare should be repealed," he said.

Tea Party leaders said Pataki's effort could bolster opposition to the new law and that they would have their eye on any efforts for a grassroots push against the overhaul.

"Everything we do would complement that effort," said Eric Odom, administrator for "We would absolutely without question promote it, encourage our base to get involved."

But others say the push for repeal has little hope for success.

Congressional expert Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, called the effort to repeal the health care law a piece of political theater. "It's not even remotely feasible," he told the Wall Street Journal.

A Rasmussen poll released Monday found that 58 percent of Americans support repeal. But a far smaller number — 38 percent — believe it is likely that a repeal will be successful, according to the survey of 1,000 likely voters.

The bill passed Congress on a strict party line vote, though 34 Democrats in the House broke party ranks and voted against it. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has already called for the law to be repealed and replaced, though many Republicans lawmakers remain wary of any such attempt.

Some political experts have argued a more realistic strategy would be to block funding for many of the measures within the mammoth 2,200-page health care law, which will be gradually rolled into effect through 2018.

But Pataki told he was not looking for legislative fixes and half-steps to fix a law he believes is filled with "so many negatives and so many unknowns."

"No, I think you want to repeal it and replace it with true reforms," he said.

New York political watchers speculated the launch of Revere America could be how Pataki tests the waters for a 2012 presidential run.

"George Pataki is an expert in figuring out where the political wind blows and he's made the judgment that this is the litmus test — this is where you have to go if you have any desire to be the national voice or be a national candidate," said Douglas Muzzio, professor of political science at Baruch College in New York. "He needs a way to establish his bona fides and make himself a player" on a national level, Muzzio said. "This is the issue of the moment."

Pataki had been eyed as a possible opponent for New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who was appointed by Gov. David Paterson to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and is up for election in November. A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday showed Pataki leading Gillbrand 45-40 percent among likely voters in New York — certainly in striking distance of making the former governor an anchor for the GOP's struggle to reclaim Congress, in which the Democrats hold a large majority in both houses.

Pataki admitted any attempt to repeal the law would require a Republican surge in Congress, but defended his decision to steer clear of the Senate race.

"I think that we need to have grassroots operations across the country," he said. "We can't just count on a race in a state to turn the tide here."