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Repealing Obama’s health care law won’t be easy
Daunting task » There are many related issues, including Medicare, taxes, food stamps and defense spending.


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Republicans, however, could not use the filibuster-proof budget process to repeal provisions in the health care that don’t have a direct impact on the government’s balance sheet. For example, it still would likely take 60 Senate votes to repeal the law’s requirement that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions.

Experts say leaving the insurance reforms intact on their own is economically unsustainable because the ratio of sick to healthy people in the plans would be out of balance.

At a glance

Repeal not that easy

The reason » For Republicans to invoke special Senate rules to pass legislation with a simple majority vote they must first pass a budget, which leads to unrelated questions on deficit reduction and defense spending.

The numbers » Republicans currently hold 47 Senate seats. If they take control of the Senate, it’s not likely to be by more than 1 to 4 votes, well short of 60. That would put lots of leverage in the hands of Senate GOP moderates.

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"If you were to remove everything else in reconciliation and be left with the insurance provisions, you have something that everybody recognizes is unworkable," said former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin. "I think if you take enough out, the rest probably has to go."




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