Tomorrow marks the seventh birthday of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It might not make it to eight. That all depends, of course, on whether the House GOP can get enough party line votes to push their ACA “repeal” bill over to the Senate.
Interestingly enough, Republicans are facing similar situations as Democrats did back in 2009 and 2010 when it comes to making their vision of national health reform a reality. Just as Democrats relied on the budget reconciliation process for the ACA to be signed into law by former President Barack Obama, Republicans are using this special legislative process to their advantage, too. By the graces of budget reconciliation, Democrats were able to get away with passing sweeping legislation in 2010 without a single Republican vote and no Republican filibuster. The GOP could potentially do the same without needing Democratic support, but that’s proving to be a difficult roadblock to circumvent due to intraparty factions.
The Washington Post reports that the House GOP health reform bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), can’t lose more than 21 House votes and two Senate votes, assuming that no Democrat will want to endorse a restructured version of health reform that doesn’t increase government’s responsibility of ensuring universal coverage. As of this week, however, 24 House Republicans and six Republicans in the Senate have voiced hard opposition to AHCA. Just like some Democrats in 2010 didn’t think the ACA went far enough towards single-payer or were unhappy with the fact that a public option didn’t make the cut, some House Republicans don’t think the AHCA stands firm on conservative principles.
All hands are on deck now for the House GOP to garner enough support for AHCA to not be a total bust. President Trump has officially intervened by reaming out the Freedom Caucus for their hard opposition to the bill, and amendments have been made to temper the sticking points on Medicaid reform and tax credits.
Read more about that here.