Repeal Obamacare bill
Reacting to the Supreme Court's big decision to uphold almost all of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) — ObamaCare — Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney stated the obvious: "If we want to get rid of ObamaCare, we're going to have to replace President Obama." The GOP-controlled House will almost certainly vote (again) to "repeal" ObamaCare in July, and even if the Democratic-controlled Senate follows suit (it won't), Obama has the veto pen. But if Romney wins in November and Republicans take control of the Senate (and keep the House), could they really dismantle Obama's biggest domestic achievement — and if so, would they? Here's a look at the possibilities and realities:
Can Republicans repeal ObamaCare?
Yes, if everything goes their way. The slam-dunk scenario is a Romney White House, a GOP-led House, and a Senate where Republicans have a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority. Since no one really expects the GOP to end up with 60 Senate seats, things get tricky for the "repeal" side. Generally speaking, Republicans would have to find a way around the filibuster, do as much damage to the law as possible through executive fiat, or convince Democrats to jettison "the party's greatest achievement since the Johnson Administration," says Ryan Lizza at The New Yorker. That last option is pure "fantasy," but the other two have their cheerleaders.
Could a President Romney kill the law without Congress?
No, but he would have "ample opportunity to dismantle the main elements of the law," says Matthew Yglesias at Slate. Democrats kept the biggest parts of ObamaCare from kicking in until 2014 — a choice they now "may come to rue," since it would give Romney a year to keep key provisions from ever taking effect. His most obvious option is "granting ObamaCare waivers to all 50 states," as he has pledged to do, says Emily Miller at The Washington Times. That would undermine the law in some red states, says David Frum at The Daily Beast, but "not all states will ask for such waivers," and "many will eagerly institute the ACA." More problematically, Romney doesn't really "have the authority to grant such broad waivers," says Igor Volsky at Think Progress. Without action from Congress, the White House can hand out waivers only "if the states meet very specific requirements."
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