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Ways and Means to Advance Reconciliation Bill to Dismantle Obamacare

September 28, 2015

It’s time to put an Obamacare repeal bill on the president’s desk. 

After countless efforts stymied by the Senate—and its 60-vote threshold—House committees will take steps this week to advance legislation targeting Obamacare—as well as funding for Planned Parenthood—that can be passed through the Senate with a simple majority vote. The law is as unpopular as ever, and now is the time to use all the procedural tools at our disposal to directly challenge the president. 

That tool is “reconciliation,” and it works like this: In the budget resolution passed by both chambers of Congress earlier this year, three House committees were given instructions for advancing reconciliation legislation. Specifically, each committee—Ways and Means, as well as the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Committee on Education and the Workforce—must produce at least $1 billion in savings each. This week, all three will pass their pieces of reconciliation and report them to the House Budget Committee. The Budget Committee will then stitch them together before sending one unified reconciliation bill to the floor for the full House to consider in the coming weeks.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has already announced that it will be acting through reconciliation to defund Planned Parenthood, invest in women’s health care, and protect taxpayer dollars from the health care law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund.

The Ways and Means Committee’s contribution will be the repeal of a series of significant pieces of Obamacare that fall under our jurisdiction. Put simply, repeal of these provisions would be the downfall of Obamacare. The bill will look like this:

  • Repeal the Individual Mandate—The individual mandate is the glue that holds Obamacare together. Democrats have long conceded that without it, the law would collapse. Forcing Americans, under penalty of higher taxes, to purchase coverage of the government’s choosing is the exact opposite approach we need to create a patient–centered health care system. We should repeal it, uprooting Obamacare in the process.
  • Repeal the Employer Mandate—This mandate, again, shows that Obamacare is built on coercion, not choice. The employer mandate hurts small businesses and costs jobs. It, too, needs to go. 
  • Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board—This panel of unelected bureaucrats holds tremendous power to make health care choices that should be left to patients. IPAB, as it’s known, exists solely to cut health care options and deny seniors access to care. It has no place in a patient-centered system.
  • Repeal the Medical Device Tax—Increasing the cost of care, discouraging medical innovation, and costing good jobs, this is one of the most egregious parts of Obamacare. We should be promoting the discovery of new medical technology, not taxing it away. 
  • Repeal the “Cadillac Tax”—With all its mandates and regulations, Obamacare forces people to buy more expensive insurance than they otherwise would, and then this provision taxes them for doing so. Even leading Democrats have been calling for it to go. We can encourage competition in health care without punitive new taxes. Democrats will now have a chance to go on the record to repeal it.

All together, the repeal of these provisions would be a devastating blow to Obamacare. There are limits on what can be moved through a reconciliation bill, but this legislation—combined with pieces from the other committees—gives us our best shot to put an Obamacare repeal on the president’s desk. Ways and Means will mark it up tomorrow, and soon the full House will use reconciliation to keep its promise to the American people.