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The U.S. government entered its second week of shutdown Tuesday as the two houses of Congress have yet to find a compromise on a budget to send to President Barack Obama for a signature, enacting it into law and effectively ending the shutdown, or a veto, sending the bill back to Congress and keeping the government shut down.
House Republicans continue to fail to cohesively act on a clean continuing resolution to fund the government, free of provisions to fund the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act.
On the Senate side, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) introduced a bill Tuesday to raise the debt ceiling, attempting to address another looming problem for the U.S. government – the potential default on bills that could occur if Congress does not act before Oct. 17.
The bill introduced by Reid, much like the continuing resolution that moderate Republicans and Democrats in the House are trying to get through, is clean – that is, the bill features no provisions to defund or delay Obamacare.
As the shutdown continues, The IUPolitique is going to look deeper into the Affordable Care and Protection Act, or Obamacare.
To start, we’ll consider the history of the law.
The roots of Obamacare, as we know it, come from the 2008 Democratic primaries. In the contentious race between then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), each candidate rolled out plans for how they would reform the United States health care system if elected, according to Reuters.
Just a month after inauguration, the now-president announced to a joint session of Congress that he planned to work with the legislative branch to overhaul the nation’s health care system.
“Now is the time to jump-start job creation, re-start lending and invest in areas like energy, health care and education that will grow our economy, even as we make hard choices to bring our deficit down,” Obama said.
The president commended Congress for already attempting to address the health care issue, just days into the 111th Congress’ term of office, according to a news release from the White House.
“When it was days old, this Congress passed a law to provide and protect health insurance for 11 million American children whose parents work full-time,” Obama said.
“[Our plan] will launch a new effort to conquer a disease that has touched the life of nearly every American by seeking a cure for cancer in our time. And it makes the largest investment ever in preventive care because that is one of the best ways to keep our people healthy and our costs under control.”
By July 2009, several bills were circulating through the House containing provisions for a revamp of health care. The Senate was also discussing and drafting legislation through the Senate Finance Committee.
Seven months after the speech, and just eight months after Obama took office, the House of Representatives voted in a close 220-215 vote in favor of what was then the Affordable Health Care for America Act. After passage by the House, the bill was sent to the Senate.
Instead, the Senate revamped an Internal Revenue Code revision that had already passed the House as a template for their own health care revision.
That bill passed the Senate and was sent back to the House on Dec. 24. With the receipt of the Senate’s bill, the House abandoned the Affordable Health Care for America Act and instead turned their focus to the Senate bill.
After the holiday recess, the House voted on what became the Affordable Care Act, on March 21, 2010, and passed it with a 219-212 vote.
After a signature from the president, the bill became law in the United States.
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a challenge on the constitutionality of the law and decided that the ACA, specifically the individual mandate, was indeed constitutional.
The court did, however, rule that states had the option to opt out of the bill’s Medicaid expansion.