Obamacare’s Incredible High-Wire History

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Now that the election is over, it’s safe to say that Obamacare has survived. And that officially gives it the distinction of having the diciest history of any major law in American history. It passed the Senate by zero votes in 2009. It survived constitutional challenge thanks to a single last-minute switch from Chief Justice John Roberts in 2012. And it weathered the Republican threat of repeal five months later when President Obama won reelection by a narrow 51-49 percent margin.

If any of those things had changed by even a hair, Obamacare would be dead. Surely no big law in history has come that close to extinction that many times, has it? It’s a real survivor, Obamacare is.


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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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