With the Senate sure to shoot down any repeal of the Affordable Care Act approved by the House, defunding represents the biggest threat to Obamacare, says former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
The House is voting on repeal Wednesday. But at some point this year — and certainly beyond if President Barack Obama is re-elected — it will likely turn to defunding efforts.
Daschle was Obama’s first choice to lead the Health and Human Services Department but withdrew his name amid a tax scandal. He said Wednesday at a conference hosted by the law firm DLA Piper, where he currently works, that states and businesses can now proceed with their plans knowing that Obamacare will stay in place, The Hill
But Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal the healthcare law if he wins office. And Republicans may take control of both chambers of Congress in the November elections. Still, repeal would require Republicans to gain 60 seats in the Senate to avoid a filibuster.
If Romney wins and Republicans control both Houses, but fall short of 60 Senate seats, they could repeal parts of the law through what’s known as “reconciliation.” That process requires only 51 votes for passage and was used to pass several parts of Obamacare.
But the whole law probably can’t be repealed through reconciliation and using it to get rid of parts of the law could be complicated. Defunding would be a simpler path, particularly in an environment conducive to budget cuts.
So that’s where Daschle’s concern lies. “I’m not as worried on the policy side as I am the budgetary side,” he said.
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