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Obamacare Repeal, One Year Later: Conservatives Still Hope to Try Again

Fiscal Times logoFiscal Times 5/4/2018 Yuval Rosenberg
a man holding a sign © Nathan Chute / Reuters

The conservative dream of complete Obamacare repeal may be mostly dead, as Vox’s Dylan Scott suggested early this week, but as fans of The Princess Bride know, there’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.

The Hill reports that, in an effort to keep their repeal chances from expiring completely, conservative groups led by the Heritage Foundation, the Galen Institute and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) are hoping to issue a new Obamacare replacement plan this month.

The White House is supporting the effort, but congressional leaders have made clear that they’ve moved on, meaning that the replacement plan “has essentially no chance of moving in Congress this year,” The Hill’s Peter Sullivan writes.

As a political issue, though, Obamacare appears to be very much alive. “Far from the liability that the Affordable Care Act has been in past elections, Democrats believe health care will be a key advantage heading into this fall’s midterm elections,” The New York Times’ Thomas Kaplan reported this week.

Exactly one year after House Republicans voted to repeal and replace Obamacare — and then celebrated with President Trump in an unusual and premature Rose Garden ceremony — Democrats are using that vote as a political weapon.

The Associated Press’ Alan Fram writes:

In Michigan, Arkansas and elsewhere, Democrats are hammering Republicans for voting to replace the increasingly popular statute with a bill Congress’ own budget experts said would have boosted premiums and the ranks of the uninsured. … To sharpen the effect, many ads couple the health care vote with last December’s passage of a GOP tax cut, which disproportionately helped businesses and wealthy Americans.

And a new poll from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling finds that voters in key midterm districts say that a vote against Obamacare by their representative makes them less likely to support that candidate.

So while Obamacare repeal may be off the table for 2018, you’ll still be hearing plenty about it over the next six months.

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