The Corner

GOP Majority Will ‘Chip Away,’ Defund Obamacare

Robert Pear at the New York Times has talked to a number of GOP lawmakers about their plans to beat back the Affordable Care Act should Republicans make major gains in Congress in November. The consensus is that Republicans are “determined to chip away at the law if they could not dismantle it.”

For starters, Republicans say they will try to withhold money that federal officials need to administer and enforce the law. They know that even if they managed to pass a wholesale repeal, Mr. Obama would veto it.

“They’ll get not one dime from us,” the House Republican leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio, told The Cincinnati Enquirer recently. “Not a dime. There is no fixing this.”

Republicans also intend to go after specific provisions. Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, a senior Republican on the Finance Committee, has introduced a bill that would eliminate a linchpin of the new law: a requirement for many employers to offer insurance to employees or pay a tax penalty. Many Republicans also want to repeal the law’s requirement for most Americans to obtain health insurance.

Alternatively, Republicans say, they will try to prevent aggressive enforcement of the requirements by limiting money available to the Internal Revenue Service, which would collect the tax penalties.

Republicans say they will also try to scale back the expansion of Medicaid if states continue to object to the costs of adding millions of people to the rolls of the program for low-income people.

In addition, Republican lawmakers may try to undo some cuts in Medicare, the program for older Americans. Many want to restore money to Medicare’s managed-care program and clip the wings of a new agency empowered to recommend cuts in Medicare. Recommendations from the agency, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, could go into effect automatically unless blocked by subsequent legislative action.

More here.

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