Like it or not, the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is here to stay. At least until the next election…
A brief reminder of the legislative process should help to explain why. Currently, the Senate has a Democratic majority, but it’s not unreasonable for the Republicans to take back the Senate in 2014.
In order for a bill to pass, the Senate and House need a 51-percent margin. We all know, of course, that the president will veto repealing the Affordable Care Act. In order to override the president’s veto, Congress would need a two-thirds majority, and that’s probably not going to happen.
For now, that means that Obamacare is a fact of life. During the last presidential election, many Republicans viewed 2012 as the last chance to repeal the Affordable Care Act because by the time 2016 rolled around, the ACA would be too entrenched in our economy and our lives to be repeal-able, as a practical matter.
Of course, with the botched rollout, that may change. If the next election brought a Republican president and Republicans controlled Congress, they could pass a bill repealing the Affordable Care Act and the president could sign it, and that would be that. Alternately, a Republican president could act without Congress via executive order and significantly weaken the Affordable Care Act without actually repealing it.
Politically, the question of whether repealing Obamacare would be good or bad for America will likely be a hotly contested issue in the 2016 election. Only time will tell how solidly the next two years will ingrain the Affordable Care Act into our lives.