Republicans Prepare To Offer Amendments To Defund Health Reform

The GOP’s revised budget proposal does surprisingly little to make good on the party’s pledge to defund the entirety of the Affordable Care Act (even though it does make significant cuts to existing health programs), but the Hill’s Michael O’Brien is reporting that Republicans is in no way resting on the issue. In fact, House Speaker John Beohner (R-OH) is telling reporters that GOP members will offer several amendments to stop the flow of federal dollars to the act:

Boehner said there’s “been a lot of discussion” about possibly adding to the GOP’s continuing resolution an amendment by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) that would end any automatic funding to implement President Obama’s new health reform law.

“I expect that there will be a lot of amendments, and there’s been a lot of discussion about that particular amendment,” Boehner said on conservative pundit Laura Ingraham’s radio show. […]

“We’re going to do everything that we can in this bill to make sure there’s no money in Obamacare,” Boehner explained. “Within the rules of debate, over a bill like this, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure there’s no money.”

Last year, Democrats went to great lengths to distinguish between discretionary spending and mandatory spending in the law, arguing that it would be easier for the GOP to go after the former — funding that has not yet been appropriated — than the latter, which they would have to literally take back. Right now it’s still unclear if the GOP will attempt to go through the extra Congressional hurdles to reverse mandatory spending (that’s already being spent on things like establishing temporary high risk insurance pools, tax credits for small businesses offering health coverage, the early retiree reinsurance program, and the state-based exchanges), but the distinction may ultimately be mute. We’re dealing with a very motivated House majority that will use any and all tools at their disposal — including government shut-down — to achieve their goal of eliminating funding.

Democrats, meanwhile, can ask some pointed questions about why the GOP is taking away coverage from 12,000 chronically sick individuals in high risk pools and increasing taxes on employers taking advantage of the early retiree grants and small businesses receiving tax credits.