July 2nd, 2012 – Now that the Supreme Court has upheld most of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, this month, Capitol Hill Republicans plan a symbolic vote in July to scrap the law. However, the next real challenge comes with the upcoming elections this November.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney has pledged to dismantle the law if he defeats Obama in the upcoming presidential elections. However, he couldn’t do it without help.
If Republican’s can gain a majority in the Senate then it would be fairly simple for a GOP Congress to dismantle the law by going after its funding. Democrats would be unable to stop that if they lost the Senate and the White House in November.
Republicans could use a process called Budget Reconciliation to remove billions of dollars of new government spending from the law. This would hamstring the law’s ability to expand access to Medicaid and give subsidies to help millions of low to moderate income Americans buy health insurance. If the funding to expand access to healthcare disappears then so does the ACA’s promise to provide near-universal health insurance coverage.
However, some parts of the law are popular with many Americans, which could make this into a political hot potato. The provision to guarantee health coverage to all Americans, even if they have pre-existing conditions seems to have fairly widespread support.
Even if Obama wins re-election or the Senate has a Democratic majority, budgetary demands at both the federal and state levels could also threaten funding aspects of the Affordable Care Act.