During the 2008 elections, there were 49 Republicans and 49 Democrats in the Senate with two Independents who caucused with the Democrats.

The Democrats picked up eight seats following the election and then, almost as soon as President Obama was sworn into office, Ted Kennedy died. The call from the president was loud and clear, though: We must pass comprehensive healthcare reform. And do it in honor of the late Sen. Kennedy.

Democrat Paul Kirk was appointed as the interim senator shortly thereafter, setting up a supermajority that allowed the Democrats to stifle any attempt at a filibuster.

Here’s where it gets interesting

“The status quo is the one option that is not on the table,” the president said in spring of 2009.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was tapped to lead the Health and Human Services by Obama around that time, following years of support for abortion rights and fights with insurers. She also led the White House Office for Health Reform.

Over the summer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a 1,000 page plan written by Democrats that became the basis for the legislation quickly becoming known as “Obamacare,” a name conjured up by Republicans and conservative pundits that originally slighted the law.

Then in November, the House approved its final version, 220 – 215 with no support from Republican lawmakers.

The battle for a landmark change to social welfare

With no bi-partisan support emerging from unlikely sources in the GOP, President Obama took the plan to the American people. He staged pressers and lobbied hard for its quick passage, promising audiences, “If you like your plan, you can keep it,” and “If you like your doctor, you can keep them.”

Accusing it health insurers as predatory and insufficient, he promised the new plan would “protect every American from the worst practices of the insurance industry.”

Then in another strange turn of events, Republican Scott Brown won Kennedy’s open seat in a special election during January of 2010 — effectively killing the supermajority left-leaning senators had built to circumvent a filibuster.

How Obamacare became the law of the land

In March of 2010, the Senate version of the bill was passed by House Democrats — 219 – 212, again along party lines. “The American people are angry,” Rep. John Boehner said. “This body moves forward against their will.”

Then on the 23rd, President Obama signed his legacy achievement, barely a year after he first took the oath of office.

“The bill I’m signing will set in motion reforms that generations of Americans have fought for and marched for and hungered to see,” Obama said at the time, adding, “Today we are affirming that essential truth, a truth every generation is called to rediscover for itself, that we are not a nation that scales back its aspirations.”

It would become a rallying point from that day forward for conservatives opposed to the measure — the 2010 campaign season was dominated by promises to repeal it, and Republicans would go on to win several seats in the House on a wave of anti-tax Tea Party support.

The Tuesday after it was signed into law, the Republicans unveiled a fresh slogan for its position: “Repeal and replace.”




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