McConnell’s Efforts To Repeal Health Law Undermine GOP ‘Top Priority’ To Reduce Deficit And Spending

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) brushed aside President Obama’s offer to work in a bipartisan manner to tweak or modify parts of the Affordable Care Act this morning, doubling down on the party’s commitment to repeal the law in its entirety. McConnell laid out what could be described as a three-pronged approach for rescinding the law: (1) Senate Republicans will “propose and vote on straight repeal, repeatedly,” and (2) hold votes “against its most egregious provisions,” (3) while House Republicans will work “on denying funds for implementation.” He admitted that “straight repeal” was unlikely, given Democratic control of the Senate and the White House, but promised to use oversight to hold administration officials accountable. “[O]versight will play crucial role in Republican efforts going forward,” McConnell said. “We may not be able to bring a repeal within the next two years and we may not win every vote against targeted provisions…But we can compel administration officials to defend this indefensible health spending bill and other costly government measures like the stimulus and financial reform.”

Ironically, McConnell’s plan to repeal the health law — in part or in whole — would have the effect of increasing the deficit and government spending, undermining what he described as the voters’ top priorities:

QUESTION: What do you think right now is the top priority for people out there? What do you think the people who voted this wave of conservatives want done first?

MCCONNELL: I think people are interested in spending, debt, and private sector job creation. They have taken a look at the affect of borrowing money from foreigners that will have to be paid back by our children and grandchildren and what kind of an impact that had on job creation. They don’t see much evidence of it…. So spending, debt, job creation in the private sector are the things I think Americans are significantly upset about and I think was at the root of the electoral success that my party had last Tuesday.

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According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), repealing the entire health care bill would add $140 billion deficit and it would also reverse the course of health care spending. Similarly, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) estimates that Medicare spending will decline $86.4 billion from previous projections due to reforms — meaning that it will increase if reform is repealed repealed.


Significantly, the GOP’s ‘replacement proposals’ likely won’t do enough to reverse this trend. The CBO has estimated that the GOP’s health plan in the House — presented by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) as an alternative to the health care bill — would increase the number of uninsured to 52 million in 2019 and reduce the deficit by only $68 billion over the 2010–2019 period.