The Future of the Affordable Care Act

The Future of the Affordable Care Act

You may or may not know this, but Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, has an uncertain future.

In other words, Barack Obama’s signature healthcare legislation may or may not survive the 2016 Presidential Election.

On the one hand, Secretary Hillary Clinton promises to keep the legislation intact with improvements on the horizon. On the other hand, Republicans unite in their opposition to the law. The only GOP course of action for the law is to repeal then replace it.

As far as repeal goes, certain events would have to take place. First, Republicans would have to retain control of the House and the Senate. As of right now, Republicans control Congress. Then, a Republican President would have to assume office.

The Senate is comprised of 54 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and 2 Independents. Angus King and Bernie Sanders are the only Independent Senators. The threshold of control of the Senate is determined by membership of 50 or more Senators of the same party.

Republicans control the House of Representatives. Control of this chamber is set once a political party membership comprises 218 or more seats. Republicans currently control 247 seats of the House’s 435 seats.

This is the current state of power, but the future of the power balance remains unstable.

In the Senate, 10 incumbent Democrats are up for election in 2016; 24 incumbent Republicans also are defending their seats. Analysts forecast easy wins for several members of the United States Senate, but 11 States feature competitive elections this year.

For instance, Kelly Ayotte is the incumbent Republican Senator from New Hampshire. She will be defending her seat against her homestate’s current Governor, Maggie Hasan (D-NH). In Arizona, former Presidential Candidate John McCain faces a competitive race from current U.S. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ). Mrs. Kirkpatrick has been serving the 1st District of Arizona since 2009.

Contrary to the shaky power balance of the U.S. Senate, the United States House of Representatives is less likely to lose a Republican majority. As of right now, Republicans hold 247 seats in the chamber, while Democrats hold 187. A party must hold only 218 seats to exert control over this chamber.

Democrats lack the thirty seats needed to wrest control over the House. Republicans membership of the House would consequently have to drop by 29 members to lose control of the chamber.

Larry Sabato is the founder of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. Per his analyses on his Crystal Ball, Democrats face an uphill battle in gaining control of the House. There are currently 18 toss-up Congressional elections in the United States. Democrats would need to win all of these elections to for a good chance to gain control.

In addition, Sabato points out that there are Congressional Districts that are “Likely Democratic” districts, districts that classify as “Leans Democratic,” and other “Safe Democratic” districts. The total number of these Democratic¬†districts is 16. Democratics would have to secure wins in all of these ¬†districts for a shot at disrupting the power balance.

Hillary Clinton is the likely Presidential Candidate for the Democratic Party. She needs to assume the office of the President of the United States, and thirty democrats need win elections to enter or stay in the House of Representatives for the Affordable Care Act to remain the law of the land. Democrats need at least 5 seats in the Senate to keep the Affordable Care Act alive.

The missing element in the Republican quest to repeal the law is a Republican President. Other than this, Republicans just need to hold onto the seats in Congress that they currently control. Six Congressional districts lean Republican, and another 13 Congressional Districts are “Likely Republican” disricts.

If Republicans retain all of the aforementioned seats, and even if Republicans lose all of the 18 toss up elections, the GOP will still retain control.

So is it likely that Obamacare will be repealed?

Donald Trump trails Hillary by six points in the polls close to 4 months before the Election. If she wins, she will defend the Affordable Care Act . The law has a good chance of sticking around in this case.

Donald Trump assumes office, and if Republicans maintain their majority in Congress, then a repeal is almost certain. At this point, it will be high time to implement a Replacement into law.


Philip Strang works as a health insurance agent for American Exchange. He specializes in enrolling individuals and families into health plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace.