Aside from presenting repeal of the Affordable Care Act as a spending reduction — when in reality reduces revenue and thus increases the debt — Mitt Romney also argues that eliminating the health care law will be “easy.” It’s a common piece of Republican mythology that just isn’t true.
As this Associated Press Fact Check explains, a Republican president won’t be able to exempt the states from the law through waivers:
For a state to be granted a waiver, it must show that it will provide coverage that is at least as comprehensive and affordable as under the federal law. Also, a state has to insure a comparable number of its residents, and its plan must not add to the federal deficit by shifting costs to Washington. Finally, a state has to enact its own health law setting up the system envisioned in its waiver request. Romney’s assertion also implies that all states would want to get out of the health care law. That’s a doubtful proposition for Democratic-leaning states.
And, beyond a reconciliation bill that only deals with budgetary items, it will be nearly impossible to attract 60 senate votes to eliminate core pieces of the law:
Some core parts of the law are not dependent on annual budgeting. Going beyond the budget process to repeal the law in full is an even steeper climb. It would require a larger Republican congressional majority to move forward and to clinch 60 votes in the Senate – all this as the law increasingly takes root in the nation’s medical and insurance system.
Going after the law piece by piece will also inject great havoc into the health insurance markets and destabilize coverage for many Americans who are already benefiting from the law.