THE BIG IDEA: Congress has never reversed a major program of social benefits once it has taken effect and reached millions of Americans. Many have tried, but no precedent or roadmap exists for Republicans as they press ahead with the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.
The Affordable Care Act, which passed with not a single Republican vote in either chamber, ushered in the most significant expansion of insurance coverage since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. Eleven million additional people joined the Medicaid rolls after the ACA allowed states to expand their programs to cover people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which means the system now covers 68 million people.
Conservatives fought so hard to stop the ACA from getting through in the first place because they understood just how hard it would be to claw back, no matter how problematic or expensive the law turned out to be. Their fears are now coming to fruition, as the debate over Medicaid’s future increasingly threatens to imperil the House GOP bill.
– Washington Post