Full repeal is impossible, but the GOP could do some real damage to the Affordable Care Act.

National Journal

Health Care

By Sam Baker
June 23, 2014

A Republican Senate majority wouldn’t be able to fully repeal Obamacare, but it could force some pretty significant changes to the health care law.

For now, the GOP isn’t talking much about what would come after Election Day. Its candidates are falling over themselves to pledge their support for full repeal—which may well be a winning message in a campaign but will be politically impossible even with the Senate majority. After all, President Obama will still be in the White House.

But as the odds of a GOP takeover increase, a rough outline is starting to emerge of how Republicans would handle Obamacare. Full repeal might be a fantasy, but with total control of Congress the GOP might be able to chalk up some real policy wins against the Affordable Care Act, and the first targets are already coming into view.

“The ultimate goal is to fully repeal Obamacare and replace it with commonsense proposals that solve the cost problem. But recognizing that Obama will be president for the next three years, we will use every lever we can in the meantime to lay the groundwork for its repeal,” a senior GOP aide said.

Winning the Senate and keeping the House would also have some risks for the GOP. It would step up the pressure to prioritize bills that Obama might sign, without disappointing conservatives who don’t want to see the party accept Obamacare as the status quo. And it would bring into sharper relief the constant question of whether Republicans should advance their own health care plans.

Here’s how a Republican-controlled Senate’s Obamacare strategy would likely play out:

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