Redemption for Obamacare
Democrats ran on Obamacare and, finally, sailed to victory.
The party that bet on surging enthusiasm for the Affordable Care Act flipped control of the House Tuesday night in what could amount to a major reset of the political direction on health care.
Democrats also made gains at the state level, with wins in gubernatorial races that could prompt new expansions of Medicaid and energize lawmakers, who can claim they have a mandate to further build on a law that serves as the bedrock of their domestic agenda. But Republicans kept – and enlarged – their Senate majority.
“I still remain stunned at where we are on health care right now,” said Brad Woodhouse, a Democratic party official during the law’s passage and now executive director of the pro-ACA group Protect Our Care. “It vindicates the notion that everyone should have access to affordable health care, that the system works better when more people are in it.”
The validation of a law that cost Democratic candidates for almost a decade puts the party in an almost unimaginable position two years after Donald Trump’s election made repeal seem inevitable. Democratic leaders already plan to investigate the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine and dismantle parts of the law, and intend to pass bills shoring up Obamacare’s consumer protections — including safeguards for patients with preexisting conditions — and its insurance markets.
The biggest unknown hanging over the law, however, is a federal court case in Texas in which Trump’s Justice Department and Republican attorneys general from 20 states are trying to abolish Obamacare — or at least its consumer protections. Democrats seized on the case during the campaign, holding rallies featuring people who struggled to obtain insurance before Obamacare due to a health condition and vowing to fight against any effort in Congress or the courts to repeal the ACA.