How the Republicans will try to whittle away at ObamaCare

No matter who wins the upcoming Senate race in Alaska, the Republicans will be in majority, and this session, they’ll likely begin to dismantle some of the more easily dismantlable parts of ObamaCare.

One of the first to go will likely be repealing the medical device tax that was passed to help pay for the Affordable Care Act. The 2.3 percent sales tax on medical devices– surgical gloves, x-ray machines, defibrillators, even bandages– expected to bring in $30 billion dollars over the next ten years. The tax is low-hanging fruit. Some Democrats have been trying to get rid of it, mostly because of the large concentration of medical device companies in Massachusetts, New York and California, and because of the army of lobbyists the industry has hired.

What’s also on the chopping block is the employer mandate, which will, at some point in 2015, require employers that hire 50 or more people to provide insurance, or else face a fine, to any employee who works more than 30 hours a week. Many, even on the left, considered it an ill conceived idea which would ultimately disincentivize companies from hiring more full time employees, say nothing of creating a confusing web of regulations for employers.

An idea that they might steal from Democrats, specifically from Sen. Mark Begich, would allow insurers to offer lower-cost, higher-deductible “copper plans” on the exchanges that don’t meet Obamacare’s current quality standards.

However, as New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait points out, all of these initiatives will end up increasing, rather than decreasing the deficit, which is more than a little ironic considering that in their victory op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, promised to work to address “a national debt that has Americans stealing from their children and grandchildren, robbing them of benefits that they will never see and leaving them with burdens that will be nearly impossible to repay.”

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9 thoughts on “How the Republicans will try to whittle away at ObamaCare

  1. joe blow

    This whole thing is going to collapse of its own weight if SCOTUS doesn’t kill it:

    Federal health officials are projecting that ObamaCare enrollment will include at least 3.1 million fewer people next year than congressional budget analysts thought.

    HHS, which previously declined to project 2015 sign-ups, said that between 9 million and 9.9 million people are expected to participate in the exchanges in 2015.

    The figure was less than the CBO’s projection of 13 million for 2015 enrollment, raising questions about the exchanges’ performance, compared with expectations.

  2. Anonymous

    I have rarely seen a more cynical and condescending comment. Confine your criticism to issues would be my advice

  3. Lynn Willis

    Obamacare is exactly the kind of thing the Republican Party used to support as it creates equal opportunity for all. Same can be said for environmental and consumer protections. Alas, the party is now controlled by those like Sam P. who can only see the protection of private property and wealth as the prime objective of government and resent those like you and others who are not eternally in debt to them. (Of course they don’t object of a kind of “Obamacare” to protect the investment and banking climate that supports the wealthy.) . Abraham Lincoln is credited with founding the Republican Party and Lincoln once said: “We “are for both the man and the dollar; but in cases of conflict, the man before the dollar””. (This quote is from “To Make Men Free – The History of the Republican Party” published this year).
    Who wants to be unhealthy and sick people will be given care at government expense won’t they? Yet Sam P. and like thinkers offer no solution to that immediate cost and the subsequent cost to Government of those driven to financial ruin by health costs. Yes, nothing like government employees and legislators with government provided health insurance moaning about “creeping socialism”.

  4. Brad

    You mean the law that was passed because the American public is too stupid to know better?

    Repeal totally!

  5. Slow Down Sam

    Translation of Sam P.’s Comment: “I have a great idea! I can blackmail Amanda with free health insurance and have her write from my perspective.” I have a better idea, how about you start your own blog. It’s free and has no health benefits (guessing you already have insurance). Oh, there is one benefit I forgot – people write in to criticize your motive instead of your position.

    Amanda has been very clear about her newly found policy (10/9/14):
    “Full disclosure: I’ve been a longtime supporter of ObamaCare, if nothing else because of my own personal experience with trying to get healthcare as a self-employed female with a pre-existing condition. Until the healthcare law was passed, I was one of millions of Americans who were caught in the outlandishly expensive and capricious mess of high risk health insurance pools, ones whose monthly premiums were twice my mortgage, and didn’t cover anything anyway. In other words, I’m a little biased. But then again, so might be roughly 15,000 Alaskans, many of whom have affordable health insurance for the first time in their lives under the Affordable Care Act.”

    Ever had premiums twice your mortgage? Sounds pretty expensive. Ever had pre-existing conditions? How bout paying more just for being a female (sorry that was below the belt). You get the idea. You can call it pathos if you wish, but I am guessing those who have previously been blocked from affordable health insurance would call it policy. They aren’t looking for pity or sympathy as you imply, just a fair shake.

  6. Amanda Post author

    @Sam. Thanks for your concern, but I can afford my own, particularly now that ObamaCare passed. And unlike so many talented and ambitious people in Alaska, I don’t even need a government job to do so. Amazing, isn’t it?

  7. Sam P.

    Let’s all chip in and buy Amanda health insurance so, no matter what happens, she is covered. A PayPal or Piryx button would do the trick, Amanda. Then you can cover this topic from more of a policy and less of a Pathos perspective. Anyone else in?

  8. Anonymous

    Scrap the whole thing. In its place put the following:

    “Any member of the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives shall have government provided healthcare that is no greater than the least among us.”

    That ought to fix things.

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