Politico: GOP discovers healthcare policy can be complicated
OK, I kind of stole the headline from Jonathan Cohn, but really, that's all this amounts to:
The GOP’s months-long debate over when and how to send a repeal of Obamacare to the president’s desk now appears to have an answer.
They can’t do it all at once.
Repealing the law “root and branch” is probably out of the question, the chamber’s parliamentarian is hinting, because some parts of Obamacare don’t affect the federal budget. That’s a must in order to use the obscure procedure known in Senate parlance as reconciliation, which allows lawmakers to avoid the 60-vote filibuster hurdle and pass bills on a simple majority vote.
That’s not the GOP’s only problem. Under those rules any Obamacare repeal has to reduce — not increase — the deficit. So Republicans will have to pick and choose which parts of the Affordable Care Act they most want to ditch.
And yes, lke everything else ACA-related at the moment, the ever-present King v. Burwell case can be found casting a shadow over everything:
The King case is the big X factor in all of this. Should SCOTUS knock down subsidies, most Republicans agree they’ll need to either extend them legislatively or replace the federal help with a health care tax credit. Both options cost money, which would again scramble the reconciliation puzzle.
Boy, this sounds an awful lot like what I said last week (and that wasn't even in the same context):
Republicans need to get it through their skulls that there is no "turning back the clock" at this point. You can't repeal the entire ACA, and trying to tear away one leg (or even two) of the 3-legged stool will only make things worse.