The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. This law contains numerous provisions intended to improve our healthcare system.
Senator Ted Kennedy dies unexpectedly in August, placing in jeopardy the Democrats’ 60-seat supermajority required for legislation passage in the Senate. At town hall meetings supporting his bill are harassed by opponents arguing it will lead to socialized medicine or death panels.
President Barack Obama
Before becoming president, Obama dedicated his career to politics and activism. In 1995 he published his memoir Dreams from My Father; as part of Project Vote he registered thousands of African American voters during Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign; served as civil rights lawyer; taught constitutional law at University of Chicago.
As part of its early efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the administration was met with fierce resistance from Republican officeholders and grassroots opponents. But the law’s survival ultimately depended on an amalgam of regulatory flexibility, bureaucratic ingenuity, litigation brinksmanship, federal subsidies and health-sector economic incentives – each move could be challenged in court and was often made on dubious legal grounds. The Trump administration has continued its attempts at derailing ObamaCare; however, it remains uncertain whether they can do so significantly or permanently without substantial congressional action. If ObamaCare survives anyway, its effects could ultimately have lasting implications on our health care system.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
Pelosi’s decades in Congress have seen her craft generation-defining legislation for families, lead Democratic campaigns on middle class issues and make affordable health care accessible. She firmly rejected Republican efforts to dismantle the ACA while simultaneously fighting to defend it from further attack by her adversaries.
She was willing to pay the political price for the health care bill and was determined that Democrats wouldn’t change their ambitions even after losing filibuster-proof majorities in both houses of Congress. She has an in-depth understanding of what motivates her colleagues and can read them like a book.
Pelosi has also been an advocate of accountability and transparency within government by passing one of the toughest ethics reform bills ever seen in history. She has led an incredible legislative push for voting rights by passing two groundbreaking pieces of legislation: For The People Act and John R Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Reid rose from an impoverished Nevada childhood to become one of the Democratic Party’s leading figures in Congress. His success wasn’t due to social skills; in fact, he loathed Washington’s social scene and often ended phone calls without saying goodbye.
Reid established himself as a master Senate tactician with an aggressive style of politics. He centralized power in his majority leader office and made his mark by blocking President George W. Bush wherever possible – such as by pushing through recession-era financial regulations, shepherding Obama’s Affordable Care Act into law, and forcing through changes that prevented minority parties from blocking presidential judicial nominations.
Reid was born to miners and laundry workers and raised in Searchlight, an impoverished ghost town 60 miles south of Las Vegas. An amateur boxer himself, Reid supported himself through college at Utah State University and law school at George Washington University by serving as Capitol Police officer.
Chief Justice John Roberts
John Roberts made an effort during his confirmation hearings to distance himself from being perceived as an activist judge, yet his decision in King v Burwell may alter that impression. This case has split both conservatives who view Obamacare as oppressive and those with business interests who support its continuation into opposition positions.
Roberts may have chosen to uphold the individual mandate in order to avoid upturning Congress and its elected branches on such an important matter, or avoid upsetting the nation’s health care system, or possibly as an attempt at protecting his Court’s reputation from having struck down such legislation. There may have been any number of reasons, though none seem convincing: 1) Roberts sought to avoid upturning elected branches of government on such an important matter 2) Potential damage would have occurred had Roberts struck it down
Roberts ultimately adopted the position taken by critics of the Affordable Care Act that its individual mandate was unconstitutional because it exceeded Congress’ commerce power, an argument not generally accepted within existing jurisprudence or rejected by lower courts.