Tags: Barack Obama | Healthcare Reform | Republican | Senate | Obamacare | Repeal

Report: Even GOP Senate Could Not Fully Repeal Obamacare

By    |   Monday, 15 September 2014 01:29 PM

Republicans won't be able to eliminate Obamacare entirely if they take the Senate this fall, but reports say they can take several steps to repeal large parts of the legislation and cripple it.

Republicans will need 60 votes to pass most legislation, notes Politico, which will be difficult to obtain. But they can still take steps on the annual budget to eliminate funding for parts of the law, and even work with sympathetic Democrats to repeal some unpopular parts of the law.

Such targets include mandates for individuals and employers, an unpopular medical device tax, the 30-hour work week provision, and a preventive health fund that Republicans have dubbed a slush fund.

In addition to the GOP's likely having trouble getting 60 votes to push through legislation, President Barack Obama is not likely to sign a bill to hurt his legacy law.

Last week, Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman said a Republican-controlled Senate would likely hold a repeal vote early after the first session starts in 2015.

"I suspect we will vote to repeal early to put on record the fact that we Republicans think it was a bad policy and we think it is hurting our constituents," the Ohio senator said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

"We think healthcare costs should be going down, not up. We think people should be able to keep the insurance that they had. They are worried about the fact that the next shoe to drop is going to be employer coverage."

If the GOP takes the Senate, Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell will likely become majority leader and lead the vote, if he defeats Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to his re-election.

GOP sources told Politico that strategy discussions are under way for options ranging from repealing some parts of the law to a broader strategy to cut out major parts.

McConnell has embraced using appropriations to force the White House to accept some changes in the law. Republicans can also use the reconciliation process, with a 51-vote majority, to cut out significant parts of the bill.

"If the Republicans win both the House and Senate, that certainly goes a long way in providing them with new tools they haven't had in the past," former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said.

Republican Committee Chairman Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said there are bills that have passed the House with large bipartisan votes, and he thinks there are also issues that Democrats will support in the Senate.

But even targeted bills may be vetoed, and scrapping parts of Obamacare could make the unpopular law even worse than it is already, sources said.

Doing away with the unpopular individual mandate but still protecting people with pre-existing conditions could drive up premium costs, and Leavitt warns that Republicans will need to devise a plan that meets their principles, which has not happened.

In addition, while polls may say the law is unpopular, millions of Americans now have health coverage, paid for in part with government subsidies, showing they do want reform.

"The position of the party cannot be one that appears to lack the compassion that people need healthcare," said Leavitt.

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Republicans won't be able to eliminate Obamacare entirely if they take the Senate this fall, but reports say they can take several steps to repeal large parts of the legislation and cripple it.
Republican, Senate, Obamacare, Repeal
Monday, 15 September 2014 01:29 PM
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