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Republicans Have Several Hurdles to Repeal the ACA

Posted on February 28th, 2017

It seemed all but certain that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or at least key parts of it, would be quickly repealed after the most recent election. With a Republican-controlled House, Republican-controlled Senate, and a Republican President, it should be easy to repeal the ACA….right? Not so fast! Republicans have four major hurdles to overcome.
1) Republicans vs. Democrats
Republicans hold 52 of the 100 seats in the Senate. If the ACA were to be completely repealed it would require 60 votes in the Senate. In other words, at least eight Democrats need to get on board with repeal, and that will be difficult, if not impossible. Republicans will likely have to use the budget reconciliation process to repeal parts of the ACA. Under this process, Republicans can repeal parts of the ACA with only 51 votes in the Senate, but the only things that could get repealed are those that impact the federal budget. 
2) Republicans vs. Republicans
Republicans believe the ACA is a failing law that must be repealed, but they can’t seem to agree on how it should be replaced. Repealing the ACA without a replacement plan would likely create a great deal of uncertainty and instability with healthcare and health insurance. There’s an unwritten rule in Washington which says, “You break it, you own it.” That means as soon as Republicans start to pick apart the ACA, Obamacare now becomes Trumpcare, and Republicans have to deal with the consequences, whether good or bad. 
3) Republicans vs. the White House
While members of Congress have been meeting to try and put together a repeal and replacement plan, it appears the White House also may be working on its own plan. White House press secretary Sean Spicer recently made comments which suggested President Trump and White House officials were working on a plan of their own. If that’s true, Congressional Republicans and the White House will eventually need to mesh their ideas into a mutually agreeable plan. 
4) Republicans vs. the Public
Republicans have held several town hall meetings in their home states during recent weeks, and some of these meetings have gotten pretty rowdy. There has been a lot of backlash over concern with repealing the ACA, and some polls are even suggesting the ACA’s approval rate is at an all time high. Some people fear that a repeal will eliminate their ability to get health insurance or obtain quality healthcare. Republicans will want to be certain their replacement agenda addresses these concerns or they’ll be sure to hear it from the public.   

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