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A congressional vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act marked the end of one skirmish over the future of health reform and the beginning of a long-term battle.
The headlines sure looked triumphant for the Republicans. The
But just what the
This doesn't sit well with Majority Leader
But Republicans did accomplish something few thought possible: they unified the Democratic party on health care reform. Just three Democrats voted for the repeal -- 35 fewer than voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last year. The day after the vote, a coalition of Democratic and progressive groups launched a campaign going after Republicans who voted for repeal while accepting taxpayer-funded health insurance.
The vote also came as new polling shows Americans with a more favorable view of the reform act than ever. An Associated Press-GfK poll showed an even split between those who support and oppose it, but just one in four favor a full repeal. (Other polling showed the pro-repeal view as high as 45%.)
But Democrats would be wise to hold their celebrations. House Republicans will be able to influence implementation of the law through the budget process. They are capable of making the next two years very tough indeed on those who want to see more of the Affordable Care Act actually enacted. Agents and brokers are already working with Republicans to alleviate what they see as onerous medical-loss-ratio rules.
There is even hope for some common ground on small changes to the bill. A number of Democrats are inclined to join Republicans in overturning a much-disliked tax reporting requirement. That could be just the first of many tweaks.