After five years and more than 50 votes in Congress, the Republican campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act (the ACA or “Obamacare”) is essentially over, states the LA Times.
According to the LA Times, GOP congressional leaders, unable to roll back the law while President Obama remains in office and unwilling to again threaten a government shutdown to pressure him, are focused on other issues like trade and tax reform.
Another interesting development is that senior Republican lawmakers have quietly incorporated many of the law’s key protections into their own proposal bills, including guaranteeing coverage and providing government assistance to help consumers purchase insurance.
Oddly, facing the situation that the Supreme Court this year could strip away insurance subsidies provided through the law, several GOP lawmakers have even proposed extending the aid, perhaps even until a new president takes office.
Former Florida Governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush has shown little enthusiasm for a new healthcare fight. Last year, he even criticized the repeal effort, states the LA Times.
This doesn’t mean that efforts to repeal the law will completely stop.
“Only 18% of Americans want to go back to the system we had before because they do not want to go back to some of the problems we had,” Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster who works for presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who still demand a repeal, appear to be long shots for the presidential nomination, states the LA Times.
More realistic might be adjustments to Obamacare rather than outright repeal. For example, the Affordable Care Act allows states to enact policies that specifically ban abortion coverage in health plans offered through the health insurance exchange.
Right now, Republicans in the House State Affairs Committee in Texas are considering just such a bill that would ban coverage for abortion in health plans offered through the ACA’s health insurance exchange.
Opponents, however, argued that House Bill 3130 would create yet another hurdle for women.