Obamacare could soon be under new and stronger attacks as the GOP appears on the verge of taking the U.S. Senate, with plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act a top priority.
Many election forecasts have Republicans winning enough seats in next week’s elections to swing control of the Senate, which would give them new power to take on Obamacare. The GOP has held a number of votes — still unsuccessful — to repeal or change President Obama’s signature initiative, but control of the Senate would mean that Republicans can call as many votes to repeal Obamacare as they want.
But Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who would become Majority Leader if Republicans take the Senate, said GOP will likely not make attempts at a full repeal, which would need a signature from President Obama.
“There are pieces of (the law) that are extremely unpopular with the American public that the Senate ought to have a chance to vote on,” McConnell said.
But Obamacare is not likely to come under a piecemeal attack, experts said.
“I believe the GOP will bring up the controversial pieces of Obamacare and force Democrats to take tough votes,” said Brian Gottlieb, a Republican strategist for Purple Strategies, told the Fiscal Times. “Issues like the employer mandate, and the medical device tax will certainly come up for votes.”
Though Republicans point to rising costs and other difficulties, Obamacare has accumulated accomplishments. An analysis from the New York Times found that the percentage of uninsured Americans has fallen drastically and improved health care for many, especially the young.
And for Obamacare to come under attack, Republicans must first take care of business on Election Day. An analysis from FiveThirtyEight found that the GOP has a 67 percent chance of taking the majority in the Senate and a 20 percent chance of increasing the advantage to 52 seats to the Democrats’ 48.