Though many consider it inherently flawed, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known simply as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a bill President Barak Obama signed into law March 23, 2010 (hence the moniker Obamacare), has held its own despite numerous attempts by Republicans to repeal it. A CNN Poll conducted in March, 2010 showed that only 39 percent of Americans favored the ACA, while a whopping 59 percent disapproved.
The ACA’s Two Mandates
The controversy stems in part from two much-maligned provisions: the individual and employer mandates. The first compels people to buy health insurance or pay a fine. The second, also under threat of a fine, requires a business with at least fifty people on its payroll to provide health insurance to its employees. While the ACA adds millions of people to the health insurance rolls, expands Medicaid, the insurance plan that provides free medical services to low-income Americans, bans denial of coverage because of a pre-existing condition, premiums for some have apparently skyrocketed.
Latest Attempt to Repeal the ACA
The GOP has made valiant attempts to overturn the bill, including the latest attempt, President Donald Trump’s glowing debacle in March, 2017, which cast an embarrassing light on the president and Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. Now the ACA appears to have become baked in the system, with no sign that it will go away.
Public Opinion Changes Course
For one thing, public approval for the ACA soared to an all-time high this year, a signal that repealing it could be disastrous for the Republicans during the mid-term elections. The fog of complexity that envelopes this divisive issue may serve as an omen for those who wish to reverse it.
“Repeal and Replace”
In response to Trump’s promise to “repeal and replace” the ACA, Ryan introduced a healthcare plan that, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), would have left 14 million Americans without health insurance by 2018, and 24 million by 2026.
Clash Within the GOP
Consequently, moderate Republicans, especially those whose constituents have benefited from the ACA, voted against the GOP’s newest repeal effort. Republicans in the far right wing of the party, however, didn’t think it went far enough. They wanted to slash more benefits. Consequently, they too voted no. This clash revealed intractably deep divisions in the Republican Party over healthcare. That and the wave of public sentiment supporting the ACA will likely present a hurdle in future repeal efforts.
For more information on the Affordable Care Act, please contact us. Thank you.