Health Care Repeal Caught in Power Play

by Ashley Carter
Columnist

It seems that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will waste no time in attempting to repeal the health care reform passed in 2010. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has already scheduled both a debate and vote in the House in hopes of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

There is no question that the Republican leaders in Washington want to repeal the health care legislation. Many newly elected officials ran on platforms that promised to do exactly that. The question remains, will they be able to make good on their campaign promises?

The House of Representatives certainly has a good chance of passing the repeal. With 242 Republican representatives compared to 193 Democrats, the Republicans have more than enough votes to repeal the law, and many reasons to do so. The Republican Party is under pressure to show voters that it has kept its promise to do away with “Obamacare,” or it might find itself out of power again after the next elections. However, once it has passed through the House, it will prove much harder to actually pass the repeal.

In order to repeal the law, the Senate must also vote to pass the measure, and though the Democrats no longer have control of the House, they have maintained a majority in the Senate. It is incredibly unlikely that Democrats would choose to repeal the legislation that a Democratic Congress spent so much time and energy passing. It is even more unlikely that President Barack Obama would allow the repeal to pass — he would almost certainly choose to veto it.

So what will actually happen to the health care reform passed by last year’s Congress? Chances are that the Republicans and Democrats in Congress will be forced to compromise over changes to the bill. It seems that the bill will keep many of its major components — the parts of the law that make it illegal for insurance companies to drop customers with serious medical conditions or to deny coverage to those with pre-existing illnesses. What many Republicans are most concerned about is the part of the law that requires all Americans to purchase health care. However, the Democrats are unlikely to budge on this issue. The changes that we are most likely to see will be in the parts of the law that affect small businesses, which feel overwhelmed by the requirements of the law. This compromise might be enough to placate Republican supporters who oppose the law.

So in the end, while the Republicans can attempt to repeal the law, it is incredibly unlikely that they will be successful. Democrats who support the bill can rest easy; the health care legislation will most likely remain in place, with some compromises between the parties over certain issues, including the effects on small businesses.
Only time will tell whether or not this solution will satisfy the voters. If not, the Democrats could find themselves back in control of the House in 2013.

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