W.H.: Obama will veto healthcare repeal

July 9, 2012 at 7:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- As the GOP-controlled U.S. House of Representatives prepared to vote on repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the White House said a repeal bill would be vetoed.

As with previous votes, action by the House -- scheduled for Thursday -- to repeal President Barack Obama's signature healthcare policy likely will go nowhere because the Democratic Senate won't consider it. In a statement Monday, the White House Office of Management and Budget said Obama would veto a repeal bill "because it would cost millions of hard-working middle class families the security of affordable health coverage and care they deserve. It would increase the deficit and detract from the work the Congress needs to do to focus on the economy and create jobs."

In a statement, the OMB said repealing the Affordable Care Act would mean "marketplaces where Americans could compare private insurance plans and get tax credits to purchase them would not open."

"Tax credits for small business owners who cover their employees would be eliminated," the statement said. "States would lose substantial Federal assistance under Medicaid to provide coverage for the neediest Americans."

Repeal would mean insured Americans "would lose the benefits and protections they receive under the healthcare law," the OMB said.

It would take a GOP trifecta in the November elections -- winning the White House and control of the Senate and retaining its majority in the House -- to overturn the Affordable Care Act or at least defund portions of it, CBS News reported Monday.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month the individual mandate, the heart of the healthcare law, is constitutional because it is a tax.

Several political observers say Democrats will make inroads in the House, but not enough to pick up the 25 seats necessary to reach 218, a majority. Congressional oddsmaker Stuart Rothenberg predicted that "a Democratic gain in the single digits is most likely," CBS News said.

Turning to the Senate, Republicans need four seats to pick up a simple majority of 51, enough to begin the process of repealing as much of the law as possible through "the budget reconciliation process." Under this process, Republicans could repeal parts of the bill that affect the deficit, such as taxes and mandatory spending, with a simple majority.

Reconciliation, however, won't repeal the entire healthcare law. Regulations would likely remain and need 60 votes in the Senate for repeal since they don't affect the deficit or spending directly, CBS said. Even if a move -- provided Republicans make a clean sweep in the executive and legislative branches -- to excise all provisions affecting the deficit and spending is successful, insurance companies still would have ACA rules requiring them to extend and expand coverage without a guarantee of new customers required to buy insurance to offset costs.

Republicans said they would address the new rules by replacing parts of the healthcare law with their own legislation but have said little about which parts of the Affordable Care Act they would reinstate in the future, CBS News reported.

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