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Obamacare birthday a taunt for Republicans?

March 23, 2017 - UNITED STATES

The 7th birthday of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nicknamed Obamacare, will rankle Republican President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress if they haven't worked out how to repeal and replace it. Disputes about ways and means are exposing ideological rifts in the party.

Signed into law by former president Barack Obama on Mar 23, 2010, and upheld in the Supreme Curt on Jun 28, 2012, the ACA overhauled the country's health-care system. Among other notable benefits, the ACA made it possible for people with pre-existing conditions to obtain coverage for the first time. Despite flaws acknowledged by its designers, and a messy rollout, it has been functioning since Jan 2014. Some 10.4 million people were enrolled as of Jun 2016, according to CNN. Other millions receive ACA benefits indirectly, such as via Medicaid expansion.

Politico observes that undoing the health care law despised by conservatives seemed to be a straightforward proposition for the party after it won the White House and retained control of both chambers of Congress in Nov 2016. Instead, according to the publication, they are sniping over how much of the law to scrap, what to replace it with and when. One camp wants the simultaneous repeal and replacement of Obamacare. Another camp wants it repealed now, and then a delay until a properly-considered replacement can be found. President Donald Trump has promised a repeal and replace plan, but hasn't made the details public or delivered it to Congress.

The Republicans have a vested interest in finding an adequate replacement. A system that costs more for premiums or causes a significant number of people to lose coverage could cost the Republicans votes in the 2018 congressional election.

Doubts grow that GOP can repeal Obamacare (Politico 14 Feb 2017)

Obamacare 2017 enrollment hits record, despite Trump's threat to repeal (CNN 21 Dec 2016)

The Trump administration just proposed massive changes to Obamacare (Business Insider 15 Feb 2017)

Date written/update: 2017-02-16