Will Obamacare Survive?

by Jeff Sovern

I was talking to someone yesterday who pointed out that even if Obamacare can be repealed through the reconciliation process–meaning a simple majority is enough to get it through the Senate–the Republicans may not have enough votes.  If they don't pick up any Democratic votes, they can afford to lose only two Republican senators on a vote to repeal.  But some Republicans may balk at repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement as it will mean some of their constituents will lose healthcare.  Consequently, they may vote against repeal without a simultaneous replacement. But the Republicans are split on what to replace Obamacare with, meaning that they may not be able to repeal and simultaneously replace it without Democratic votes–which they are unlikely to get for a repeal.  In addition, replacement could not be done through reconciliation, as I understand it, meaning that it could be stymied by a filibuster unless the rules change (though whether Democrats would filibuster a replacement remains to be seen). The result would be Obamacare stays.  I don't see how senators who vowed to repeal Obamacare could return home and say they voted to keep it, but stranger things have happened. See "Read my lips."

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