The repeal and replacement of Obamacare passed the House on May 3, 2017 by one vote 104 days into the new administration, slightly over a month (41 days) after it was withdrawn due to the lack of votes on March 24 and seven years after Barack Obama signed it into law on March 23, 2010 in the White House.
It has been the most controversial legislation in recent political history. Obamacare, as it became known, had no Republican support in 2009 and 2010 and the repeal has no Democratic support today.
Of the 20 Republicans that opposed, most were in swing districts. In Colorado, Mike Coffman, who has been a weak supporter of Donald Trump, voted no. The Denver Post congratulated him, and although he has won his last two elections handily, it was probably the safest choice given 2018 could be a very difficult year for Republican officeholders up for re-election.
Darrell Issa, who wavered on the repeal and replace bill, decided to support it. He barely survived a challenge last year in his southern California district. Hillary Clinton won both Coffman’s and Issa’s districts.
Obamacare may be a law that had about an eight-year life span. But it’s not done yet. Before final approval in 2010, Obamacare took months of hearings and negotiations and was approved in the House in November 2009 by only 220 to 215. Expect a similar elongated process and equal intrigue this year.
This was a politically dangerous vote for Republicans. They may pay for it in 2018, but failure to repeal was not an option and the replacement was never going to be popular with some elements of the Republican House conference. The more Republicans fear reaction, the longer they are likely to delay “full” implementation – maybe after 2020.