Every 2016 Republican presidential candidate will be running on an anti-Obamacare platform. Republicans have opposed the health care law since long before it was signed by the president, and supporting an effort to repeal it has been a popular stance amongst members of the GOP. Even Mitt Romney — who passed similar health care reform in Massachusetts — ran an ad with the slogan “Day One. Job One. Repeal Obamacare” during his unsuccessful 2012 campaign. With new candidates like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio entering the 2016 GOP race, it appears as if the repeal of Obamacare will remain a popular issue for potential presidential nominees.
When Republicans talk about repealing Obamacare, they discuss it in broad terms. In the speech announcing his candidacy yesterday, Rubio claimed he would “repeal and replace Obamacare.” Rand Paul made a Facebook post last August that read, “I won’t rest until ObamaCare is 100% repealed.” Jeb Bush has remained more moderate about whether he would repeal the law, although he’s referred to it as a “monstrosity.” If a Republican wins the election in 2016, it seems as if the Affordable Care Act will be first up on the chopping block.
Supporters of Obamacare — as well as those who benefit from the law — shouldn’t be too worried. A full repeal of the law three years after it has been fully implemented is possible, but highly unlikely. With a Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican president, it’s more likely that changes to the law will be passed. But that’s relying on the GOP getting the votes to make that happen, as well as them agreeing on a sensible alternative. Rubio recently laid out his three-point plan for health care in the "post-ObamaCare era" in a Fox News op-ed, but other candidates have not been so clear in their vision. At this point, a full repeal of Obamacare would be as drastic a health care reform as what took place when the law was first passed. The American people — especially those who have been enjoying the benefits of the law — cannot afford (literally and figuratively) to overhaul the nation’s health care system every time a new party gains control in Washington.
According to Reuters, the House of Representatives has voted on a repeal of Obamacare so many times that they’ve lost count on the exact number. It’s most likely upwards of 60 times. Eight of those votes have been for a full repeal. Obviously, the attempts have been unsuccessful. The law isn’t going anywhere during Obama’s tenure, but Republicans are banking on a victory in 2016 that will give them the control they need to continue their relentless campaign against the law. Even if they don’t have a viable alternative plan.
Millions of Americans have gained coverage through Obamacare. Yet, according to the National Journal, 48 percent of Americans hold an “unfavorable view” of the law. Only 38 percent find the law favorable. Those statistics and the 2014 midterm GOP takeover — during which many candidates used anti-Obamacare rhetoric — are evidence that the American public is still skeptical of health care reform, even though it seems to be working. Obamacare will undoubtedly be a key issue during the 2016 election, and the Democrats will likely continue supporting the legislation. If the Republicans have shown anything in these past several years, it’s that they won’t give up on trying to reverse the policies that Obama has implemented. Even if a member of the GOP is elected to the nation’s highest executive office, it’s unlikely that a full repeal of the law will take place anytime soon.