While Republicans are stillbickering over whether to allow House Republicans to hold a face-saving vote to defund the Affordable Care Act in the short-term funding resolution that is designed to keep the government operating through December, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is already preparing for the next fiscal fight.
On Tuesday, during a closed-door meeting with Republicans, Cantor announced that the party won’t support raising the nation’s $16.7 trillion borrowing limit unless President Obama agrees to a one-year delay of the health care law.
Obama has repeatedly said that he would not negotiate over the debt ceiling extension, though Republican leadership insists that any increase must be accompanied by cuts to the “the mandatory side” of the ledger, impacting programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Affordable Care Act. Tuesday marks the first time Republicans attached a specific policy request to the ceiling vote, proposing to effectively repeal the ACA for a full year — a proposition that could actually increase the deficit by more than $20 billion dollars.
A Congressional Budget Office report from July 2012 found that repealing the ACA in its entirety would increase the federal deficit by $109 billion over 10 years and $24 billion in FY 2014. Undoing certain coverage provisions but maintaining the revenues and cuts in the law — a tactic Republicans have used in the past, most prominently in Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget — would decrease the deficit anywhere between $35 billion and almost $50 billion. Doing so, however, would maintain billions of dollars in cuts to the Medicare program and taxes on various sectors of the health care system, which Republicans say they oppose. It would also undermine the GOP’s criticism of Obama for not delaying the law for all Americans.
Seven million people are expected to sign up for insurance in the health care exchanges between October and March, the overwhelming majority of whom will receive tax credits that could lower their health care costs.