The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), President Obama’s landmark healthcare legislation, was signed into law in March 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2012. The law, which mandated comprehensive health insurance reforms, worked to provide affordable healthcare for millions of uninsured Americans, and put the consumer back in charge of their healthcare.
However, Republicans have made repealing Obamacare their number-one priority ever since it became law. They have wasted countless hours and millions in taxpayer dollars in over sixty attempts to repeal the law, despite the fact that some 16 million Americans who are now covered by the plan would lose their health insurance if it were repealed. Almost every Republican running for office runs on a platform with the stated goal of repealing Obamacare – despite not one of them having any idea of what to replace it with.
Republicans in February of this year finally forced President Obama to veto a law calling for repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Not having sufficient support to override the veto, they tried to block implementation of Obamacare by attaching/placing “veto bait” language into must-pass legislation. However, as TPM notes, President Obama “has easily kept language to ‘defund Obamacare’ out of the final versions of annual funding bills.”
It seems that Republicans controlling the Senate have learned their lesson and are surrendering to their own game by “abandoning an effort to use their power over the federal purse strings to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”
Now the Republican Senate has taken “the more pragmatic approach with a huge $164 billion spending measure reflects a hope by top Republicans like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to remove veto bait from must-pass spending bills in hopes of advancing them more easily.”
Consequently, the bill focused on “boosting medical research, Pell Grants for low-income college students, and additional money to treat opioid or heroin addicts,” and low and behold, the measure sailed through the Senate Appropriations Panel today.
The pragmatic approach, and in this case the absolutely right approach is not something we usually expect from Republicans. However, let us not forget this is an election year and with Republican Congressional approval ratings at about 12 percent, the very real possibility of losing control of the Senate, and the Party further having to put a brave face on the prospects of having to support Donald Trump as their presidential candidate – it should not be a surprise to anyone that Congressional Republicans might attempt to pass some much needed legislation. It’s about time they passed anything of substance.
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