Image: Fibonacci Blue under CC 3.0
Republicans are running for election or re-election this fall on the platform of “repeal and replace”. They largely want to dismantle the health insurance plan reform passed by the Obama administration and Democrats. It remains to be seen if that’s an effective political tactic, but what about the practical aspects?
Despite the potential for Republican victory, President Obama will still be in office for at least two more years. Obviously, he’ll veto a measure that seeks to gut one of his most significant domestic policies–the expansion of access to affordable health insurance. So how will a Republican-controlled Congress change things? According to conservative Rep. Michelle Bachmann, they’ll refuse to include funding for it in appropriations bills. She calls it “starving the beast”. Cynics believe that such a strategy makes it more likely that the bill will fail, making it easier for a Republican president to win in 2012 and repeal the law.
The GOP has a good shot at taking back the House of Representatives. However, only one-third of the Senate seats are up for grabs this year. Even if a Republican takes every single one, that will barely leave them with an equal number of seats. They’ll only have 50 votes if independent Joe Lieberman (a former Democrat) switches sides, which he has done in other cases. However, he has expressed his support for the Senate’s legislation. Don’t forget that when the Senate’s tied, the vice president has the deciding vote! Joe Biden will surely vote in favor of retaining the legislation. Senators are responsible for overriding a presidential veto, which can only be done with a two-thirds majority. Reaching that level is mathematically impossible in this election year.