Why Republicans Don’t Have A Mandate To Repeal Health Reform

While it’s difficult to generalize about an election that attracted older and more conservative voters, many of whom said that they were most concerned about the economy and unemployment, one can close the loop on debunking the notion that the Affordable Care Act is to blame for the Democrats’ dismal showings last night.

As Politico’s Pulse pointed out this morning, “Exit polls show health as the second most important factor driving votes (19 percent). It was distantly behind the economy (62 percent).” While half wanted the health law repealed, “nearly another half wanted it expanded or kept in place.” And according to a Wonk Room analysis of the election results, of the 34 House Democrats who voted against the final health care bill, 18 lost their bids for reelection, 12 won, 3 retired, and 1 race — Rep. Ben Chandler’s (KY) — is still too close to call. Two states, Oklahoma and Arizona, also passed anti-reform ballot initiatives, while voters in Colorado defeated a similar proposition:

— 18 Voted AGAINST health care reform, and LOST:
Rep. John Adler (NJ), Rep. Rick Boucher (VA), Rep. Travis Childers (MS), Rep. Lincoln Davis (TN), Rep. Chet Edwards (TX), Rep. Frank Kratovil (MD), Rep. Jim Marshall (GA), Rep. Charlie Melancon (LA) [ran for Senate], Rep. Glenn Nye (VA), Rep. Ike Skelton (MO), Rep. Zack Space (OH), Rep. Gene Taylor (MS), Rep. Harry Teague (NM), Rep. Michael Arcuri (NY), Rep. Bobby Bright (AL), Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD), Rep. Mike McMahon (NY), Rep. Walt Minnick (ID)

— 12 Voted AGAINST health care reform, and WON:
Rep. Jason Altmire (PA), Rep. John Barrow (GA), Rep. Dan Boren (OK), Rep. Tim Holden (PA), Rep. Larry Kissell (NC), Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL), Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA), Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC), Rep. Collin Peterson (MN), Rep. Mike Ross (AR), Rep. Heath Shuler (NC), Rep. Jim Matheson (UT)

— 2 Referendums AGAINST health reform PASSED:
Arizona, Oklahoma

— 1 Referendum AGAINST individual mandate FAILED:

Last night, members of the House Republican leadership reiterated that they would focus on the economy, before turning their attention to repealing health care reform “lock, stock, and barrel” — an almost impossible feat given the Democrats’ control of the Senate and the Presidency. As the Wonk Room explains, the greatest gain for anti-reform advocates, however, will be felt in the states, where Republicans won control of 19 statehouse chambers on Tuesday.


Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, President Obama said of Republicans’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, “I think we would be misreading the election if we thought that the American people want to see us for the next two years relitigate arguments we had over the last two years.” However, he said that he would be “happy to consider some” GOP ideas to improve the law. The Wonk Room has more.

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