I heard someone on MSNBC say that Team Romney is trying hard to change the subject from health care reform (which is hurting poor Willard, what with all his Etch A Sketchitude and all) to the economy. They know a bad thing when they see it. Wait. Check that. If that were true, their candidate wouldn’t be Romney, but I digress.
Mitch McConnell and his trusty gang of obstructionists have been relentlessly pounding away at repealing the Affordable Care Act in front of every TV camera and microphone they can scrounge up. McConnell suggested that a GOP majority in the Senate would try to repeal the individual mandate through reconciliation. That only requires 51 votes as opposed to the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.
But according to The Hill, even if Republicans do well in November, a repeal would be “a tall order.” They quote Romney during the GOP debates as saying, “We can get rid of it with 51 votes.” Not so fast, Willard:
But Martin Gold, who served as a floor adviser to then-Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), said the court’s tax distinction probably won’t make the difference… Gold, now a partner at Covington & Burling, said the biggest question is whether repealing the mandate is primarily about the budget.
Reconciliation bills must affect the deficit, and their predominant impact has to be fiscal. A bill that is mostly intended to make a policy change, but carries some incidental economic impact, isn’t eligible for reconciliation.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the individual mandate will generate about $4 billion per year for the federal government. Although Republicans have seized on the mandate as a tax increase since the court ruled last Thursday, they have spent years attacking it primarily as an encroachment on liberty. [...]
Democrats’ last budget resolution said reconciliation could be used only to reduce the deficit, Gold said, but Republicans could eliminate that requirement in their own budget.
Then, in the Senate, once a reconciliation bill came to the floor, Democrats could challenge specific provisions. They could say, for example, that any savings from repealing certain parts of the healthcare law would only be incidental. If they won those challenges, those parts of the law would remain in place.
It’s messy, no matter how easy those on the right try to make “repeal and replace” sound. Not to mention they have yet to come up with anything feasible to replace this health care plan with one of their own. Nice try, GOP.