The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often known as Obamacare, continues to gain ground despite website glitches and the best efforts of Republicans to repeal it. The short history of Obamacare resembles more of a rollercoaster ride than a set of statesmen engaging in compromise.
Here are a dozen images recounting the ups and downs of President Obama’s signature achievement.
1. Inspiration from Massachusetts
In this April 12, 2006, photo, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reacts at Faneuil Hall in Boston after signing into law his landmark healthcare bill, designed to guarantee health insurance to virtually all Massachusetts residents. The law provided a rough blueprint for President Obama's healthcare law, which Romney later vowed to dismantle. None of the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates were as aggressive as Romney in criticizing the new healthcare overhaul — possibly because none of them shared his vulnerability on the issue. Ironically, the Romneycare vs. Obamacare debate gave Romney his most concise retort, that issues of healthcare should be left to the states, not the federal government.
2. Grassroots Support, 2009
A sign supporting a single-payer healthcare system is diplayed on a barn Monday, Oct. 5, 2009, a few miles west of Valley City, N.D., along Interstate 94. Sharon Clancy of Valley City initiated putting up the sign. Amusingly, a sign was placed on a former grainery on the east side of Valley City that read, "No Obamacare."
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3. Repeal It Now.org Goes on the Attack, 2011
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., center, joins other conservative lawmakers to criticize Obamacare on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The event was organized by the Repeal It Now.org campaign that said the boxes were packed with petitions from American citizens asking Congress to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
4. The Supreme Court Weighs In, 2012
Top photo: Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., left, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Monday, March 26, 2012, to oppose Obamacare. Rep. John Fleming, R-La., is at right. Both Price and Fleming are physicians. The monumental fight over the healthcare law came before the Supreme Court that day. Various aspects of the constitutionality of Obama's signature domestic achievement were argued for three days in the court.
Middle photos: Holding a sign saying "We Love ObamaCare," supporters of healthcare reform rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, as the court continued hearing arguments on Obamacare. Obama’s re-election campaign lifted an unofficial ban on using the opposition’s derisive term for his healthcare law, and Democratic activists chanted, "We love Obamacare," in front of the Supreme Court. The campaign also sold T-shirts and bumper stickers that proclaimed: "I like Obamacare."
Bottom photo: In this Tuesday, March 27, 2012 photo, Amy Brighton from Medina, Ohio, who opposes healthcare reform, holds a sign in front of the Supreme Court in Washington during a rally as the court continued arguments on the healthcare law.
In a historic 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on June 28, 2012, upheld Obamacare, concluding that it is constitutional because it “functions like a tax” and not a mandate and is therefore allowed under Congress’ taxing power granted by the Constitution.
5. GOP Doctors React to Supreme Court Decision, 2012
A portion of approximately 33,500 signed "Defund ObamaCare" petitions gathered by the Association of Mature American Citizens is displayed on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, June 28, 2012, during the GOP Doctors Caucus news conference in response to the Supreme Court healthcare ruling.
6. Left and Right Adjust to Obamacare’s Legitimacy
At left, Gov. Peter Shumlin addresses a meeting of healthcare advocates following the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare on Thursday, June 28, 2012, in Montpelier, Vt. Shumlin had been saying the state would push ahead no matter how Thursday's ruling from the Supreme Court turned out. But the law remaining in place allowed Vermont's health overhaul to be helped by up to $400 million a year in federal tax credits and other subsidies.
At right, on the same day, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., speaks during the GOP Doctors Caucus news conference in response to the Supreme Court's decision. Later, in the GOP's weekly address on May 18, 2013, Harris said, "If we've learned anything this week, it's that the IRS needs less power, not more … As matter of fact, it turns out that the IRS official who oversaw the operation that's under scrutiny for targeting conservatives is now in charge of the IRS's Obamacare office. You can't make this stuff up."
7. Obamacare, All 7 Feet of It
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky points to a 7-foot stack of Obamacare regulations to underscore his disdain during the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., on March 15, 2013. McConnell said Democrats have been predicting for years that Americans would learn to love the healthcare overhaul and that has not happened. “I agree that it will be a big issue in 2014,” he said. “I think it will be an albatross around the neck of every Democrat who voted for it. They are going to be running away from it, not toward it.”
8. The Cruz Filibuster and Its Aftermath
Top photo: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, emerges from the Senate Chamber on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, after his overnight marathon Senate speech (a filibuster) opposing President Obama's healthcare law, talking for 21 hours and 19 minutes.
Bottom photo: Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and other senators arrive for a procedural vote on a bill to fund the government to which House Republicans linked the defunding of Obamacare, Sept. 25, 2013. The vote was 100-0 and came an hour after freshman Sen. Ted Cruz ended his filibuster. However, Democratic leader Harry Reid had the votes to strip out the defund Obamacare provision and send the spending bill back to the House.
9. HealthCare.gov’s Disastrous Debut, 2013
The Obamacare signup website HealthCare.gov launched as scheduled on Oct. 1, 2013, but not to great acclaim. Ken Statz, a health insurance broker and president of Statz and Associates General Agency in Brecksville, Ohio, was for months stymied in his efforts to enroll clients through the Obamacare website.
10. Application Deadline Extended, 2014
On Wednesday, March 26, 2014, the Obama administration announced it would extend the health insurance deadline for those who had started the application process but were unable to finish by March 31st.
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11. Obama Declares Victory as Website Falters Again
Upper photo: President Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act with Vice President Joe Biden in the Rose Garden at the White House on April 1, 2014. Hundreds of thousands of Americans rushed to buy Obama's new health insurance plans on March 31, prompting a victory lap from a White House that paid a steep political price for its greatest achievement. The scramble to sign up under Obama's healthcare law at the end of a six-month enrollment window caused website glitches and long lines at on-the-spot enrollment centers.
Bottom photo: U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius smiles as she waits for President Obama to speak about Obamacare in the White House Rose Garden.
12. Surprise! The Marketplace Is Closed
Elizabeth Rich helps a man sign up for the Affordable Care Act at Swope Health Services in Kansas City, Mo., on March 31, 2014. As part of Obamacare, healthy customers with money to spend will no longer be able to walk into a private insurance office or go online and buy standard coverage at any time of year. With limited exceptions, insurers don’t plan to sell to individuals outside the open enrollment period in HealthCare.gov and the state insurance marketplaces.
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