Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Next House Republicans Obamacare target: Medicaid expansion

Joan McCarter  

Remember how House Speaker John Boehner has reassured his conference that while full-on Obamacare repeal might not be on the agenda, House Republicans are just going to keep chipping away at it? He said they would use "targeted legislative strikes aimed at shattering the legislative coalition the president has used to force his law on the nation."

Consider this one of the possible strikes, aimed at the part of Obamacare that is going gangbusters right now, signing up hundreds of thousands across the nation: Medicaid.

A small group of stalwart House conservatives aren’t abandoning their efforts to gut Obamacare through government funding bills.

Should another continuing resolution be needed in January, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said some conservative lawmakers want to include a provision to eliminate the Medicaid expansion funding that was added in the Affordable Care Act.

The funds would then be used to cover the $20 billion in cuts to defense spending that are set to go into effect in January as part of the sequester, he said. The Medicaid expansion costs about $21 billion for the rest of the fiscal year, said Huelskamp, who supports keeping the sequester cuts in place.

“We would like to take something out of Obamacare, and we looked at the Medicaid numbers and thought, ‘Geez, we can take some of that and put it to some of the sequester cuts,’” he said. “It helps us achieve two goals at once—one to pull something out of Obamacare… Two, it pushes back at some Republicans worried about the sequester.”

What they'd like to take out of Obamacare, clearly, is health coverage for poor people. Politico calls this effort a longshot, suggesting that there won't be the stomach in the Republican caucus in the House for another budget fight over Obamacare. That's underestimating Republican hatred for the law. It's also ignoring the fact that nothing that the hardcore tea bagger right wants to get out of Boehner is ever a longshot: they rule his world.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Nov 20, 2013