Saying ‘buh-bye’ to Obamacare
The always insightful Keith Hennessey show the path to repeal:
The path to repeal is straightforward and, while difficult, achievable. … In 2012 win the White House, hold the House majority, and pick up a net 3 Republican Senate seats to retake the majority there. … In 2013, use reconciliation to repeal ObamaCare, requiring only a simple majority in the Senate. … Repeal of the subsidies, the individual mandate, the insurance provisions, and the Medicaid expansions would, in each case, directly affect spending and revenues, so it would be a straight-up-the-middle use of reconciliation for deficit reduction. Democrats who argued in 2009 that it was OK to use reconciliation to create these provisions would find those same rulings working against them in 2013.
At the moment Democrats are hanging their hat on the CBO-scored deficit reduction associated with the two laws. This CBO score means that a straight repeal amendment faces a Budget Act point of order and therefore needs 60 votes to succeed. If Republicans were in 2013 to try to repeal the laws as-is, CBO would score them with increasing the deficit. That’s not impossible to do through reconciliation, but it’s a trickier path.
Still, this is a solvable problem. The best policy way to address this would be to leave some (most?) of the Medicare savings in place, and not repeal them. I’d also favor leaving the “Cadillac tax” on high cost health plans in place.