Republicans, in control of both Houses, have tried and repeatedly failed to repeal a health insurance reform enacted under the previous administration, known as “Obamacare.”
What is Obamacare?
Obamacare, formally speaking the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is a statute signed by then President Barack Obama in 2010. It aimed at increasing the extent of health insurance coverage in the United States, ideally to the point where nobody is uninsured, and at correcting certain inequities, for example by prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to those who need it most (the issue of coverage for “preexisting conditions”).
Why Did the Republicans Seek Repeal?
Many Republicans believe that law regarding health insurance is a prerogative of the states, and that the creation of a single federal scheme in this area was unwise and/or unconstitutional.
Why did the Repeal Bills Fail?
A repeal bill did pass in the House. But the Republican Party has a very thin majority in the Senate. In the face of unified support for Obamacare among the Democrats, only three Republican defections from any particular repeal-and-replace effort were needed to defeat it.
The Punch Line
Obamacare remains the law of the land. It seems likely that the broad philosophical issue: “should the federal government be doing this?”, has been settled. The specifics of the bill are of course open for endless re-writes.