Over the last few years, Republicans in Congress have voted nearly 60 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. On Tuesday, they were poised to do it one more time. The latest legislation is sponsored by Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama, and it aims to not only repeal the law but encourage committees in the House to come up with alternative legislation that could take Obamacare’s place. Unfortunately, the bill is unlikely to go far in the Senate, and it is doomed for a veto if it gets to the president’s desk.
At the same time, the White House is going on offense, inviting Americans who have benefited from the law to meet with President Obama. According to a White House official, “the President will continue to stand with the families who have better care and choices as a result of the law.”
An Uphill, But Worthy Battle
It is clear that Obamacare isn’t going anywhere until Republicans have tighter control over Congress and a sympathetic ear in the White House. Until then, however, it’s important for them to continue delivering a message against this law. The further down the Obamacare path we go, the harder it will be to get Americans behind a repeal effort. That’s not because the law’s benefits will come to light, but because it will become increasingly entrenched in every aspect of the system. There are a hundred reasons to abolish the IRS, but it’s hard to get Americans to see that because it has become such an established part of the federal government. These things are much more easily eradicated in their infancy.
Fighting the good fight in the Senate is Ted Cruz of Texas, who has introduced the Obamacare Repeal Act that he describes as “pro-growth, pro-jobs, and pro-liberty.” The bill is intended to provide Congress with a chance to pass new reforms that would take on the healthcare system as if Obamacare had never existed. Cruz wants the bill to make room for a new healthcare system with an emphasis on the free market. As part of that plan, Cruz champions such measures as giving Americans the chance to “purchase insurance across state lines, expand health savings accounts, and make health insurance personal, portable, and affordable.”
While efforts may be doomed in both the House and the Senate, the important thing is that Republicans can coalesce around a practical replacement for the current law. Even if the president stands in the way of such repeals, they could send a signal to the Supreme Court. King v. Burwell is getting ready to be decided, and if the Court rules against Obamacare’s subsidies, it could spell the beginning of the end for Obama’s signature legislation. Analysts believe the Court may be more likely to rule against Obamacare if they see a reasonable alternative waiting to take its place.
With uninsured taxpayers getting ready to be hit with their first real taste of government wrath, the steep penalties could leave the president as Obamacare’s sole champion.