After the House caved on funding Obamacare in the CR, the fight moves to the Senate. Senator Ted Cruz has taken the lead in fighting Obamacare. For the first time in almost two years we are actually having a discussion about the rising cost of health insurance engendered by Obamacare. Cruz is proposing an amendment to the CR, which is already full of Barbara Mikulski’s pork, to defund Obamacare.
There has been some pushback from the status quo Republicans who contend that Obamacare cannot be defunded because it is purveyed by mandatory spending. The reality is that the HHS and the IRS will need a substantial sum of discretionary appropriations just to implement the thousands of pages of regulations and the healthcare exchanges. According to the Congressional Research Service [page 5], the agencies implementing the program “will incur substantial administrative costs to implement the law’s private insurance reforms and its changes to the federal health care programs.” The administrative costs will eat up all of the money that has already been appropriated. They need more funding. CRS notes that HHS projected that all the mandatory funds for implementation “would be obligated by the end of FY2012. Thereafter, ACA administrative costs will have to be funded through annual discretionary appropriations.”
Moreover, every budget bill, including this one, contains numerous policy riders that can prohibit specific funding even for mandatory programs.
It is really very simple. Here is the language that all Senate Republicans need to fight for:
1 At the appropriate place, insert the following:
SEC. ll2 . PROHIBITION ON FUNDING.
3 None of the funds made available in this Act may
4 be used—
5 (1) to carry out any provision of the Patient
6 Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law
7 111–148) or title I or subtitle B of title II of the
8 Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of
9 2010 (Public Law 111–152), or the amendments
10 made by such Act, title, or subtitle; or
1 (2) for rulemaking under such Act, title, or
If the bill does not contain that rider, every Republican must continue to filibuster the CR. Supporting the amendment in the abstract is not good enough. As we’ve noted many times, if there is no disruption of implementation this year, there will be not entitlement reform and there will be no balanced budgets. There is also no way they will ever have the courage to fight it in the debt ceiling after they have run scared every time the debt limit approaches. It is now or never. #StandWith Ted