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JAMA Forum

The Future of Health Care Becomes Clearer: The Obama Approach Wins

The 2012 Presidential race was the most important election for health care the country has ever experienced. In no other election has the repeal of a single law loomed as large as Romney’s promise to rescind the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Only rarely have different approaches for health care been so starkly painted. Voters had no difficulty knowing where the candidates stood on health care, and they voted for the President’s approach.

The important question is what this will mean going forward. In reality, there are 2 health care discussions. The election’s outcome will affect each.

The election will have a major effect on the ACA. The ACA always had 3 major hurdles to pass, and it has now passed all of them. First, it had to become law. It did so after protracted debate and by a thin margin. Second, the US Supreme Court had to decide that it was constitutional. That happened in June, again by a hair. Third, it had to survive the implicit recall election. That is what happened last night.

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