Mike Kueber's Blog

July 20, 2012

Reversing ObamaCare with only 51 votes in the Senate

Filed under: Issues,Medical,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 3:43 am

There has been a lot of bold talk by Republicans planning to reverse ObamaCare if they take control of the Senate in 2012.  Although most pundits assume that such a reversal would require Republicans to have a filibuster-proof majority (60 votes), there is an article floating on the internet, falsely attributed to renowned columnist Charles Krauthammer that asserts only 51 votes are needed to repeal ObamaCare because filibusters can’t be directed toward matters of taxation.  My initial suspicion was that the article was incorrect and that the 51-vote reconciliation process could be applied only to the taxation component of ObamaCare – i.e., the individual mandate – but repeal of the remainder of the bill will require at least 60 votes.  But I also suspected that there are numerous other actions that President Romney and his new Secretary of Health and Human Services will be able to take to eviscerate ObamaCare, beginning with a broad assortment of state-specific waivers. 

A recent article in the Huffington Post essentially confirms my opinion:

  • “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.’”

Congressman Paul Ryan essentially agrees.  According to an article on DailyCaller.com, Ryan has asserted that Congress has the authority to repeal on a majority vote 85% of ObamaCare because it relates to budgetary matters.  Only the 15% that is regulatory in nature, such as coverage for pre-existing conditions or 26-year-olds would require a filibuster-proof majority.  . 

Remember how President has essentially gutted America’s immigration law via prosecutorial discretion?  Romney will be able to do the same thing with ObamaCare, and as we say in North Dakota, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.



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