In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Eight Ways Republicans Tried (And Failed) To Stop Obamacare

Obama-transportation
AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin

DEFUND OBAMACARE

House conservatives started with the ultimate goal: Defunding Obamacare in its entirety. It was an effective repeal, stopping the law for good.

DELAY OBAMACARE

Republicans then moved to a (slightly) more modest goal: Delay the whole law for a year. As a carrot to social conservatives, they also included a 'conscience clause,' which would have allowed employers to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage to workers.

DELAY THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE

After they couldn't delay the whole law, they took aim at its most-hated provision: the requirement that every American purchase health insurance. Delay it for a year, they said. They repeatedly referenced the White House's delay of Obamacare's employer mandate as their justification.

REPEAL THE MEDICAL DEVICE TAX

A popular Republican target during the struggle was the ACA's medical device tax, a 2.3 percent excise tax on those sales. No matter that it would have added about $30 billion to the deficit. They portrayed it as a tax on "pacemakers and children's hearing aids" in their talking points. A little later, they then tried for a two-year delay of the tax.

THE FULL VITTER AMENDMENT

A Republican poison pill added to the Obamacare law when it was passed requires Congress members, administration officials and their staffs to purchase health coverage through the law's insurance marketplaces -- rather than continuing to have employer-based coverage. The Obama administration ruled, though, that they could still use their employer subsidies from the federal government to pay for it.

Citing "fairness," Republicans sought to stop that ruling. Members and their employees would have been required to pay the full price for insurance, without the federal help they received in the past.

THE HALF VITTER AMENDMENT

One of the problems with the full Vitter plan is that it would hit lowly employees particularly hard. So at one point, the House GOP proposed instead to eliminate the federal employer subsidies for members and top-level administration officials, including President Obama, only.

PIECEMEAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING

After the government actually shut down, the House started passing bills to fund the popular pieces of the federal government -- national parks, veterans benefits and so on. The not-so-subtle intent, as articulated by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and others, was to fund every part of the government except for the ACA.

INCOME VERIFICATION

Here's the small victory that conservatives won. In short, the Obama administration is mandated to verify the income of people who receive Obamacare subsidies.

But as the Washington Post's Sarah Kliff explains, it isn't much of a victory at all.

There's nothing about the income verification measures that passed Wednesday night that will change Obamacare, aside from a few staff members at Health and Human Services devoting some hours to gathering the data and writing up these reports. And that probably explains why Democrats were okay with passing this language in the first place.

About The Author

K4zw8el802c2lczjp9fi

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.