"GOP Hijacks Budget Process To Dismantle Obamacare"
The Senate plans to begin considering the Democratic-sponsored budget resolution on Friday or Saturday, including the slew of amendments that Republican senators have tacked onto the legislation. Since budget amendments only need a simple majority to pass, GOP lawmakers have seized the opportunity to push their agenda by rushing to file hundreds of them — including several that would dismantle Obamacare.
Here are just some of the amendments that seek to undermine the implementation of the law, just as advocates prepare to celebrate its third anniversary:
REPEAL OBAMACARE: Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) cuts to the chase with Amendment #202, which would “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to provide for the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.”
PREVENT ANY NEW OBAMACARE SPENDING: Amendment #285, introduced by Sen. Robert Wicker (R-MS), wouldn’t repeal the health law outright — but it would “provide for the repeal of new spending under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
REPEAL OBAMACARE’S FUNDING SOURCES: Several amendments seek to undermine Obamacare by preventing it from being able to use new revenue to carry out its health reform provisions. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)’s Amendment #222 would “repeal the tax increases enacted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that were imposed on low- and middle-income Americans,” and Sen. Dan Coats (R-ID)’s Amendment #194 would “repeal the 3.8 percent tax on investment income imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
DELAY OBAMACARE’S IMPLEMENTATION: The health reform law’s implementation is marching forward across the country, but Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) wants to halt that progress. His Amendment #357 seeks to “delay implementation of the President’s health care law for 2 years.”
INHIBIT MEDICAID EXPANSION: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)’s Amendment #408 would “reduce the federal matching rate for Medicaid expansions,” which could threaten funding for the provision and dissuade states from opting to expand their Medicaid pools. Even though federal funding for Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion is not currently in question, Coburn also wants to “prevent the federal government from making an unrealistic promise to States to fund any State’s expansion of the Medicaid program at a higher level of federal reimbursement.”
ELIMINATE HEALTH INSURANCE SUBSIDIES: Two different amendments — #326 from Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and #417 from Sen. Coburn — seek to eliminate some of the subsidies that help ensure Americans can afford to purchase health care on the state-wide insurance marketplaces. Obamacare allows Americans with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level to receive some assistance to buy health insurance, but Graham and Coburn want to lower that cut-off to 300 percent.
UNDERMINE PUBLIC EDUCATION ABOUT HEALTH REFORM: Many Americans still have significant misperceptions about what’s included in Obamacare, but Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) doesn’t want those to be cleared up anytime soon. Roberts introduced Amendment #187 to “prohibit the use of funds for promotional or marketing materials promoting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
Republicans have tried to repeal all or parts of the Affordable Care Act at least 54 times since its enactment.