How to Repeal ObamacareJuly 4, 2012
Obamacare can be repealed in 2013 -- and the process for repeal is very straightforward.
The Democrats unwittingly provided their political enemies everything they needed to repeal the Obamacare (also known as the Affordable Care Act). First, a simple majority of the House can pass a one-sentence measure repealing the ACA. Second, and most critical, the Senate can pass the same measure using, if necessary, the same tactics Senate Democrats used in 2010 to pass the ACA: reconciliation. Reconciliation, by Senate rule, is a budgetary tool the majority can use once a year to tweak tax law -- a tool that does not require the typical 60 votes for cloture. Through reconciliation, the Senate can push the repeal through with a simple 51-vote majority, a move for which Democrats may cry foul, but there's no argument. If the final version of Obamacare could be PASSED with 51 votes, it can also be repealed with that number. Finally, the President -- a Republican and an opponent of Obamacare -- would have to sign the repeal measure, something Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has vowed to do.
Your state can slow down implementation of Obamacare in the mean time. It can refuse to implement the health care exchanges called for in the law. Your state can also refuse the Medicaid expansion, as discussed in Chief Justice John Roberts' opinion. Neither of these ends the law -- but both reduce its effects, and in the short term are good options until full repeal can be attempted.
Now, once Obamacare is repealed, a mess would be left in its wake. Its implementation would remain, and the executive branch would have to unwind the explosive growth in the Health and Human Services (HHS) department, as well as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), while managing the cutting of funds to those and other government agencies charged with implementing and enforcing Obamacare. States would have their own headaches to deal with, developing strategies to deal with the start of insurance exchanges and other expansions already in motion as states individually have worked to comply with the law. Some elements of those implementations would likely be dissolved or rolled back; others some states would choose to retain. Either way, the federal funds for these state-level implementations would dry up, creating a logistical nightmare and a big hole in state budgets.
Repeal is the right move, of course, as Obamacare represents a constitutional travesty, made obvious by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts' incoherent ruling upholding the law. But even if repeal is real in 2013, the road ahead to unwind the program will be bumpy at all levels of government. When is the last time, after all, government had to shrink?
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