45. How Obamacare Became the “Law of the Land”
So how did Obamacare become a law. It’s actually pretty interesting. If you recall, the Democrats in the House weren’t able to pass their version of a Healthcare law. Because all revenue bills have to originate in the House of Representatives, the Senate found a bill that met those qualifications: HR3590, a military housing bill. They took out essentially all of the wording of it, and turned it into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. It gets better.
The Senate at that time had 60 Democrats, just enough to pass Obamacare. After the bill passed the Senate tho, Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy died. In his place, Massachusetts elected Republican Scott Brown. That meant that, if the House made any changes to the bill, the Senate wouldn’t have the necessary number of votes to pass the corrected bill, since they knew no Republicans would vote for Obamacare. So they made a deal with the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives: the House would pass the Senate bill without any changes, IF the Senate agreed to pass a separate bill by the House that made changes to the Senate version of Obamacare. This second bill was called the Reconciliation Act of 2010. It made a bunch of detail changes, and added some things. So the House passed PPACA, the Senate bill, as well as their Reconciliation Act. So now PPACA was ready for the President to sign, but the Senate still needed to pass the Reconciliation Act from the House. Confused yet?
Now, remember that the Senate only had 59 votes to pass the Reconciliation Act since Republican Scott Brown replaced Democrat Ted Kennedy. In order to pass the Reconciliation Act, therefore, the Democrats in the Senate decided to change the rules. They declared that they could use the “Reconciliation Rule”—this is a different “reconciliation” than the House bill now. This rule was only used for budget item approval, so that budget items could be passed with only 51 votes in the Senate, not the usual 60. This rule was never intended to be used for legislation of the magnitude of Obamacare. Too bad… they used it anyway. So then both of the “Acts” passed both houses of Congress and were then signed by President Obama. All done by Democrats without a single Republican vote in favor of it. To quote Democrat Rep. Alcee Hastings of the House Rules Committee during the bill process: “We’re making up the rules as we go along”. They certainly couldn’t have made this law without it. How do you feel about that?
(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)