Politics

Paul Ryan says 85 percent of Obamacare can be repealed through reconciliation

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Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

On Mark Levin’s Wednesday radio show, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan explained that, regardless of what the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, most of Obamacare could be repealed by Congress because it involves taxing and spending.

Last week, Ryan’s counterpart in the U.S. Senate, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said that it would take only a simple majority to entirely repeal Obamacare. However, Ryan said that some elements of the law are likely here to stay, regardless of what Congress does.

“I believed before this ruling this could have been dealt with in reconciliation,” Ryan said. “So, I don’t think the court got us anything farther than what we already had because according to the rules of the 1974 Budget Act, which governs our budget process — as Budget [Committee] Chair, I run with this process, I manage this process — anything that has fiscal impacts, taxing and spending, that can go into a budget, which cannot be filibustered and therefore only takes 51 votes to pass the Senate.”

Ryan explained why the Roberts opinion in the ruling of the law’s constitutionality last month, which said Congress had the power to pass such a law under its taxation powers, was not important. According to Ryan, it comes down to all the fiscal provisions in the law.

“So, when you look at Obamacare, whether it is a tax or a mandate or whatever you want to call it — call it a cream puff, it makes people pay something,” he said. “Money — that’s fiscal. All the Medicare policy, all the Medicaid spending, all the Obamacare exchange subsidies — that’s fiscal. That’s spending, taxing and spending. All of that can go into reconciliation, which has always been our plan. It is our plan to pass through the House, then pass through the Senate and need 50 votes plus one, whether it’s a tie-breaker from the president of the Senate is the vice president, or 51 Republicans.”

Some of the portions that are regulatory in nature, like the part of the law allowing parents to keep their children on their health care until age 26, were not subject to the 1974 Budget Act’s rules. However, he said he estimated about 85 percent of the law was subject to it.

“And so it comes down to an argument about can all of Obamacare be put into this bill or not. There are some parts of Obamacare that are sort of regulatory in nature, not fiscal in nature — insurance regulations, we call these things like guaranteed issue and community rating. There will be a debate, which will be arbiters, which will be determined by the Senate parliamentarian as to whether or not those are primarily fiscal policies or regulatory policies. So what I tell people at home is I think we can get 85 percent of this for sure repealed in reconciliation.”

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