The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of key provisions in the Affordable Care Act, the health care law commonly known as Obamacare, on Thursday, but on Capitol Hill, Republicans are vowing to press on with plans to fully repeal the law.
Repealing the law won’t happen before January 2013. It would be dependent on a triple Republican victory this November: Mitt Romney would need to defeat President Barack Obama, Republicans must hold their majority in the House, and they must also gain enough seats in the Senate so they have at least 50 of their own in the upper chamber.
What about the filibuster? Don’t you need 60 votes to do anything in the Senate?
Not in this case. Because Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion ruled the individual mandate a “tax,” a Republican-led Senate could repeal that provision–and others–using what is called “budget reconciliation,” a procedural tactic that requires only a simple majority vote. The Republican vice president, in this hypothetical scenario, would break the tie. (Democrats used the same method in 2010 to pass the health care bill.)