|FILE - In this June 28, 2012, file photo Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks about the Supreme Court's health care ruling in Washington. Millions of uninsured Americans may have to wait until after Election Day to find out if and how they’ll be able to get coverage through President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul because many governors from both parties said they haven’t decided how their states will proceed on two components under their control: an expansion of Medicaid, and new insurance exchanges. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)|
Repealing Obama's health care law won't be easy
‘‘When elections are about certain policies and are defined on that, you've got momentum to do those things,’’ said House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy of California.
A simple-majority reconciliation bill could certainly cover the health care law’s tax increases — including the penalties used to enforce the individual mandate to buy insurance — and subsidies for insurance premiums.
Republicans, however, could not use the filibuster-proof budget process to repeal provisions in the health care that don’t have a direct impact on the government’s balance sheet. For example, it still would likely take 60 Senate votes to repeal the law’s requirement that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions.
Experts say leaving the insurance reforms intact on their own is economically unsustainable because the ratio of sick to healthy people in the plans would be out of balance.
‘‘If you were to remove everything else in reconciliation and be left with the insurance provisions, you have something that everybody recognizes is unworkable,’’ said former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin. ‘‘I think if you take enough out, the rest probably has to go.’’