The road to health care reform hasn’t exactly been easy. After waiting nearly a century, Americans had to (1) wait for a Democratic president and a large Democratic congressional majority; (2) overcome a Supreme Court challenge; and (3) re-elect that Democratic president.
As of this week, the pieces are in place for the law’s prolonged security, and as of yesterday, the nation’s leading Republican conceded he’s effectively giving up trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans’ efforts to undo President Barack Obama’s health care reform law appear to have come to an end, as House Speaker John Boehner described it Thursday as the “law of the land.”
In an interview with ABC News, the nation’s top elected Republican seemed to indicate that Congress wouldn’t engage in the type of repeated repeal votes the way it had in the past two years.
Keep in mind, as recently as July, congressional Republicans had voted 32 times over the last two years to kill “Obamacare,” as if only 31 floor votes may have left unanswered questions about the GOP’s intentions.
But according to the Speaker of the House, there apparently won’t be a 33rd time. Boehner told ABC’s Diane Sawyer that the election “changes” his party’s plans. “It’s pretty clear that the president was re-elected,” he said. “Obamacare is the law of the land.”
Soon after, the Speaker said on Twitter that the Republican “goal” remains “full repeal” of the law, but it seems clear that this rhetoric is only intended to make the GOP base feel better. Boehner can have any “goals” he likes, but if he doesn’t intend to actually waste time pursuing pointless ambitions, these aspirations are irrelevant.
What’s more, once the full law is implemented in 2014, it will be all but impossible to roll back its protections and benefits going forward. The Affordable Care Act will take root and join other pillars of modern civil society as basic parts of American public life.
There are some meaningful implementation issues to consider – and we’ll talk more about that a little later today – but for now, Boehner’s comments are a striking reminder that “Obamacare” is here to stay.