The Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly known as Obamacare, is relatively unlikely to be repealed at this point, regardless of ongoing opposition. From the very beginning, before the ACA was even passed, there were those who were against healthcare reform. However, Obamacare did pass and the healthcare system in the United States was reformed as a result, bringing the prospect of affordable healthcare to the estimated 30 million Americans unable to obtain health insurance, not to mention those who weren’t eligible for health insurance due to preexisting conditions. Of course, there are plenty of people who argued the only reason the ACA passed in the first place was because there existed both a democratic president and a democrat majority Congress at the time. What will happen if a Republican President takes office in 2016, with a Republican controlled Congress to back him or her? Will Obamacare be repealed?
Let’s just start by saying that any law can be repealed. However, at this point it is not likely that Obamacare will be dismantled. For one thing, the president and the Congress would not only have to have a very good reason for undoing a system that has helped so many uninsured Americans to gain coverage, but they would have to come up with an alternative solution to satisfy the public. In addition, there is a lengthy process involved in repealing any law or act passed by Congress, one that basically follows the same procedures needed to pass a law.
First, a bill to repeal Obamacare would have to be presented in committee. After being voted out of committee, the bill would go to the House floor for vote. A majority vote in the House would pass the bill along to the Senate, where again a majority vote would be required. From there the bill would go on to the President for signature. While President Obama is still in office, it is useless to try to pass such legislation – he will clearly veto a bill to repeal Obamacare, after which a 2/3 majority vote in both the House and the Senate would be required to pass the law despite the President’s veto. In short, it’s a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.
What if a Republican President were in office though? With a majority in the House and Senate, there would be nothing to stop the Republican party from pushing their agenda, and a Republican President might not veto a bill presented by his/her party. What’s to stop a Republican Congress and President from undoing Obamacare completely? There are a couple of reasons why this probably won’t happen in 2016.
For one thing, repealing Obamacare at this point would cause complete havoc in a healthcare system that’s just starting to find its footing. Americans have spent the last several years acclimating to Obamacare and the last thing most people want is to have to go through another extensive and frustrating transition. Many people also enjoy the benefits inherent to the system, and there would likely be an outcry if millions of people were to lose coverage overnight.
In addition, it’s much easier to amend an existing law than to repeal it. So there’s a far greater chance that Republicans will simply shoot for changes to some of the more debated aspects of Obamacare, like the so-called Cadillac tax. We may therefore see a few changes to the ACA as we now know it should a Republican candidate take the Presidential office in 2016, but an outright repeal is probably not in the cards.
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