Tags: gop | debt | ceiling | obamacare

House GOP Eyes Linking Debt to Obamacare Bailout

Friday, 31 Jan 2014 02:07 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

House Republicans are mulling over plans to link an increase in the debt ceiling to the repeal of the insurance company bailout clauses in the Affordable Care Act.

At the annual GOP retreat being held this year in Cambridge, Maryland, Republicans are getting behind a movement to offer Democrats a deal that connects the cancellation of the "risk corridor" and reinsurance provisions in Obamacare to the raising of debt limits, according to Politico.

The "risk corridor provision" mandates that the government has to cover 80 percent of insurance company losses. The "reinsurance" fund collects $63 per insured person from insurers and self-insuring employers, which translates into around $20 billion over three years for the government to cover future losses from insurance companies.

Obamacare supporters say the clauses are an important part of the law as they will prevent potential spikes in premiums if healthcare insurance companies try to cover any losses, and will help to guarantee that these companies don't go under.

But at the GOP conference, Republican Reps. Tim Griffin of Arkansas and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota called for these provisions to be eliminated, according to Politico's sources at the retreat.

However, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin proposed his own idea that the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline should be tied to lifting the lid on the debt limit.

Although the Obama administration has told Congress it will need to raise the debt ceiling earlier than expected to avoid a default on the nation's debt, House Speaker John Boehner insists the GOP will need concessions before agreeing to any deal.

But President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada have declared that they want a clean debt limit hike without any policy provisions, and have said they do not plan to negotiate, says Politico. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, in fact, has sent a letter to Boehner saying the debt ceiling should be raised by Feb. 7.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., quickly put down the leaked GOP ideas from their annual conference, saying they are a "wish list."

She said, "Republicans don’t get to demand a ransom simply for allowing Congress to do its job. Hopefully Republicans will stop worrying about keeping the Tea Party happy and will work with us to prevent a default the way they’ve done the last two times, but this time without the drama and needless uncertainty."

Related Stories:

Obama: I Will Not Negotiate With Congress Over Raising Debt Ceiling

McConnell: Debt Ceiling Fight Will Bring 'Republicans Together'

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