Would Jeb Bush Repeal Obamacare As President, And Would He Be Able To?
The Supreme Court's decision on Thursday to uphold a significant part of the Affordable Care Act has many celebrating, except for Republican presidential candidates like Jeb Bush, who want to repeal Obamacare. Since being put into effect in 2010, the ACA has continuously come under fire from Republicans, who have repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) attempted to repeal it. The Supreme Court has now handed down three cases regarding the law, and Republicans have held 50 unsuccessful repeal votes. Following Thursday's decision, many feel that repealing the ACA while President Obama is still in office is an impossibility. But what if there were a Republican president?
Bush is among one of those who doubts any true progress can be made until there is a new president. Even if a bill were to pass in the House and Senate, Obama would have the ability to veto it before it went into effect. But with a Republican in the Oval Office, the threat of veto becomes almost nonexistent, considering that every single GOP candidate has made repealing Obamacare a keystone of his or her campaign. Really, it's become the litmus test to get into the GOP clubhouse. Anyone who doesn't say "repeal and replace" at least three times during their campaign is barred from entering.
If elected president, Bush has made it clear that tackling the issue of Obamacare would be a cornerstone of his administration. "As president of the United States, I would make fixing our broken health care system one of my top priorities," Bush said in a statement following the decision. "I will work with Congress to repeal and replace this flawed law with conservative reforms that empower consumers with more choices and control over their health care decisions."
According to Bush, the government would need a viable alternative if it was to repeal Obamacare, which is something that he feels is never really talked about. Bush said his plan would be to craft an alternative law that is "consumer directed" and connects doctors and patients together to create specialized health coverage options. He would support state-sponsored subsidies and would seek to ensure that health plans are more customizable. In his ideal plan, there would be no mandates requiring individuals to pay for coverage and protection for services they may not want or need.
Bush, who once called Obamacare a "monstrosity," has stated that he would craft a law based on free-market principles, something similar to a plan he enacted as governor of Florida regarding Medicaid reforms, which, according to him, "increase patient and physician satisfaction and reduced costs." When Obamacare was made law in 2010, Florida had one of the highest numbers of uninsured individuals.
Recently, Bush has discussed the idea of focusing on catastrophic coverage plans, which would not cover smaller things like basic medicine and doctors appointments, but would give aid in serious medical emergencies that would be outside of many Americans' ability to pay. These plans are generally cheaper, but are not often used.
But the larger question is not if Bush would try to repeal Obamacare, but rather if he could. And a lot of that falls to chance. It would be difficult for Bush to repeal the ACA and enact his alternative plan without backing from Congress. Currently, that would be feasible, as the Republicans have control of the House and are only outnumbered by six votes in the Senate. During the 2016 election, 43 Senate seats will be up for reelection (though only 10 are likely to rotate, eight of them are Republican), as well as all 435 House voting seats.
What this means is that when America goes to the voting booths next November, they will likely have the ACA in mind when electing both their president and their state representatives. If America wants the ACA to be repealed, it will show in the results of the Congressional elections. But by 2016, Obamacare will be further entrenched in society, with more Americans dependent on it. This is likely to be a large factor that will sway the election. Even if Bush or another Republican were to secure the presidency, if they find themselves with a Democratic Congress, it's unlikely that Obamacare will be going anywhere anytime soon.
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