The American Action Forum (AAF), in an e-mail newsletter, broke down the numbers about repealing and replacing Obamacare:
Republicans are reported to have their collective knickers in a communal twist as they seek to put together Obamacare repeal/replace legislation. As a roadmap to the issue, it might be useful to review some of the key numbers relevant to the debate.
60. That’s the number of votes needed in the Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) under regular order. Because of the Senate tradition of unlimited debate, a supermajority vote (i.e., 60) is needed to invoke cloture (end the debate) and move to voting for passage of a repeal bill.
52. That’s the number of Republicans in the Senate. 52 is less than 60, so it will not be possible for Republicans alone to repeal the ACA under regular order, forcing them to use reconciliation. Reconciliation procedures have a finite amount of debate, allowing reconciliation bills to pass with a simple majority. Unfortunately, reconciliation is limited to provisions that are budgetary in nature, limiting the scope of the repeal. Put differently, because 52 is less than 60, the #FullRepeal crowd is the #FantasyRepeal caucus. #Ignore.
218 and 51. Those are the number of votes simultaneously needed in the House and the Senate to send a repeal/replace bill to the president’s desk for signature. House members tend to forget about 51 and Senators about 218. They are also why a successful repeal/replace bill will not be a joyous moment, but rather a vote of grudging realism.
2 million. That’s the number of people that the Congressional Budget Office estimates are not working in 2017 because of the ACA. Having those Americans in the labor market would raise labor force participation from 62.9 percent to 63.6 percent — higher than it’s been in 4 years. The ACA was not just bad health insurance policy, bad health policy, and bad budget policy. It was also bad economic policy. Republicans were delivered the White House, House, and Senate on the promise of reversing such bad policies and delivering a better today and tomorrow to the American middle class.
2 million is why people should stop dreaming of 60, accept the reality of 52, and just deal with what it takes to do 218 and 51.