by Jeff Sovern
I was talking to someone yesterday who pointed out that even if Obamacare can be repealed through the reconciliation process--meaning a simple majority is enough to get it through the Senate--the Republicans may not have enough votes. If they don't pick up any Democratic votes, they can afford to lose only two Republican senators on a vote to repeal. But some Republicans may balk at repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement as it will mean some of their constituents will lose healthcare. Consequently, they may vote against repeal without a simultaneous replacement. But the Republicans are split on what to replace Obamacare with, meaning that they may not be able to repeal and simultaneously replace it without Democratic votes--which they are unlikely to get for a repeal. In addition, replacement could not be done through reconciliation, as I understand it, meaning that it could be stymied by a filibuster unless the rules change (though whether Democrats would filibuster a replacement remains to be seen). The result would be Obamacare stays. I don't see how senators who vowed to repeal Obamacare could return home and say they voted to keep it, but stranger things have happened. See "Read my lips."