An unintended consequence of the debt deal? Obamacare cuts could come

posted at 2:40 pm on August 4, 2011 by Tina Korbe

It’s the top headline on Drudge right now and a few folks are buzzing about it on Twitter, too. Yesterday, I wrote about the likely cuts to defense funding that will come if (when?) the Super Committee deadlocks. Now, it looks like progressives on the Committee might actually have equal impetus to ensure the Gang of 12 arrives at $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, after all. The signature accomplishment of President Barack Obama’s first term could be at risk. Politico reports:

Many of the pots of money in the law — one of the Democrats’ most prized pieces of legislation — could get trimmed by the debt deal’s sequestration, or triggered cuts. The funds for prevention programs and community health centers, grants to help states set up insurance exchanges and co-ops, and money to help states review insurance rates could be slashed across the board if the panel can’t find enough cuts this fall.

Funding for the temporary high-risk pools for pre-existing conditions could be sliced, too, as well as grants to improve maternal and child health. And as previously reported by POLITICO, the law’s cost-sharing subsidies — which are supposed to help low-income people pay their out-of-pocket expenses — could face the ax, too.

The prospect of reductions to the health law’s programs — which would undermine the law’s attempts to expand access and improve health quality — could provide an added incentive to Democrats to avoid the triggered cuts. The reductions will happen if the new committee can’t find at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years.

Republican leadership is already touting this as added evidence that the debt deal was a win for Republicans, in general, and the Tea Party, in particular. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.) said it for everyone when he said, “When I look at these, I think it gives a huge incentive to the Democrats to find cuts. What would be triggered if we can’t find other cuts would cut right into the Obama health care law.”

What’s most exciting to me about this development is that it reinserts Obamacare into the debate. Up to now, much of the talk of cuts has centered on discretionary spending, entitlement programs (which, somehow, are never thought to include Obamacare, the largest entitlement program of all) or defense funding. And, all along, Republicans should have been talking about cuts to the health care law because they’re on especially solid ground with that. Cuts to established entitlement programs that people have come to rely on are far riskier politically than cuts to a program that hasn’t yet been fully implemented — a program, furthermore, that represents the first entitlement program in the history of the country that folks opposed, as I’ve heard Mike Frank, Heritage Foundation vice president for Government Studies, say on more than one occasion. Hopefully, Republicans on the Super Committee will try to achieve these cuts as a part of the $1.2 trillion in the first place and not merely hold them over Democrats’ heads to ensure no new taxes — but, no matter what, it’s nice to know the Defense Department won’t be alone out in the cold if the Super Committee fails to do its job.

 


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Obama = Smart Power

not.

bridgetown on August 4, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Here’s hoping the committee deadlocks!

Caiwyn on August 4, 2011 at 2:44 PM

well, this might work more effectively then than the Obamacare repeal :-)

jimver on August 4, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Well, isn’t that a pity.

trigon on August 4, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Oh, good Lord… the “Pelosi Doctrine” lives on — we have to pass bills to know what’s in them.

red winger on August 4, 2011 at 2:46 PM

All the folks fretting that the Dems will hold the military hostage to raising taxes—we-hellll, looks like the good guys got a hostage of our own!

Sekhmet on August 4, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Not likely. This thing is sacrosanct to the Libs.

No way they’ll let it be cut.

hachiban on August 4, 2011 at 2:46 PM

The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

Akzed on August 4, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Repeal the monstrosity and we won’t have to worry about it.

darwin on August 4, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Now this could get interesting…

RedSoxNation on August 4, 2011 at 2:50 PM

They will come over the dead bodies of the lefties. This is total nonsense.

Schadenfreude on August 4, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Remember the strong adage in Washington: old government money is stronger than new government money because old money already has its special interest infrastructure built in with lobbyists, think tanks, etc.

RedSoxNation on August 4, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Those cuts to Obamacare will never happen. NEVER.

SouthernGent on August 4, 2011 at 2:53 PM

How ironic that today’s market losses that have wiped out this entire year’s profits will result in NO tax being paid this coming year on those very profits.

O’Bambi’s economic team is smirking with delight over these losses, not realizing how little the Feds will collect in the near term.

honsy on August 4, 2011 at 2:55 PM

fossten hardest hit.

Vince on August 4, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Oh, good Lord… the “Pelosi Doctrine” lives on — we have to pass bills to know what’s in them.

red winger on August 4, 2011 at 2:46 PM

HA!! Good one.

NJ Red on August 4, 2011 at 3:00 PM

thanks goodness the Dems don’t read the fine print of the bills they vote to pass. i cannot imagine rank and file Libs voted for the debt act knowing it puts obamacare funding in the cross hairs.

oh these community organizers are sharp, ain’t they?

DrW on August 4, 2011 at 3:05 PM

The Rs have given up on killing Obamacare.

Send them all home.

Schadenfreude on August 4, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Keith Hennessy wrote about this yesterday. He breaks out something like 15 different areas of Obamacare that could wind up on the the chopping block.

Assuming he is right this could get interesting…

Dawnsblood on August 4, 2011 at 3:07 PM

The Rs have given up on killing Obamacare.

Send them all home.

Schadenfreude on August 4, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Where are you getting that from? Folks were upset that defense funding was in the crosshairs under the debt ceiling deal, and all the Dems had to do was not pass anything that didn’t have a tax increase, and the triggers would hit defense spending—-SOOPRISE! It will hit 0bamacare, too—which means there won’t be as much room for Dems to play games.

Sekhmet on August 4, 2011 at 3:12 PM

The Rs have given up on killing Obamacare.

Send them all home.

Schadenfreude on August 4, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Face reality, my friend: it will NOT get killed until Obama is voted out next year AND the good guys get the Senate back next year.

There has never been an election more important than 2012.

crushliberalism on August 4, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Don’t cut it. Kill it. If any portion of this goes into effect, it will never go away.

Ronnie on August 4, 2011 at 3:18 PM

The Rs have given up on killing Obamacare.

Send them all home.

Schadenfreude on August 4, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Understanding the Rs have a majority in only one house of Congress, they knew it wouldn’t go anywhere. The petulant child in the WH won’t give up on his signature accomplishment. The House did vote to repeal as promised and it went nowhere. I wish they would have put O’care on the table, but they were fearful of the entitlement culture’s and MSM backlash and double-talk.

The more that comes out about the fetid turd that is O’care, the heavier that millstone becomes around Obama’s neck. Could you imagine how much credit would accrue to Obama if he did acquiesce on his signature legislation for the sake of the U.S? That would cement his re-election.

kscheuller on August 4, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Someone wrote that the committee will only be as good as the Republican weakest link. That’s so true.

I’m not too excited about the political class in D.C.

INC on August 4, 2011 at 3:20 PM

I see that one of Hennessey’s items is the early-retirement Medicare bonus that was ‘discovered’ only a few weeks ago. At that time democratics innocently claimed it was a mistake, wink-wink, and neither party has made a move to correct it.

Call me a skeptic, but I don’t have a lot of faith that Republicans will really kill the monster Obamacare. Both parties are hooked on political power.

slickwillie2001 on August 4, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Smartest people in the room…

/

Seven Percent Solution on August 4, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Actually this is a feature not a bug….

tommyboy on August 4, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Never happen.

fossten on August 4, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Oh, good Lord… the “Pelosi Doctrine” lives on — we have to pass bills to know what’s in them.

red winger on August 4, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Nods, that is what I said at the time, amongst many for the bill itself. Any bill made and passed in a matter of hours is suspect, no matter which part or group makes it. Of course it just ‘had’ to be done…

I’m not optimistic about anything good coming from this committee… look at the 9/11 Commission: it got us DHS. Plus DNI was set up by committee. These blue-ribbon packed featherbeds with apparatchiks in them tend to make things worse, not better, and grow the bureaucracy. I do not expect one made to cut it to be successful as this is an alien thought pattern for the two parties, although not the Tea Party which is why they are treated as aliens.

ajacksonian on August 4, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Unless there is some specific language in the bill stating that this is high on the priority list for cuts, I don’t know why we are even discussing it.

It is probably a case of existing spending working against Democrat election hopes whereas it would motivate their parasite base to turnout to vote to save their welfare-type program if it is lost or its existence is threatened. For this reason, Obama will want to put his Obamacare on the cut list the same way he wants seniors and troops high on the priority list of targets, the expectation being that the people are stupid. And they voted for Obama so he has reason to believe that betting on the stupidity of Americans is his ticket to reelection.

Buddahpundit on August 4, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Cut Obamacare? Guess who’ll get the blame on that one?

Why do I think they need to rename themselves the Wylie Coyote Party?

Don L on August 4, 2011 at 5:13 PM

This should get interesting…

Remember the strong adage in Washington: old government money is stronger than new government money because old money already has its special interest infrastructure built in with lobbyists, think tanks, etc.

RedSoxNation on August 4, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Now they Republicans talk about cuts to ObamaCare and how they can be used as a cudgel. Have we abandoned all hope of having this monstrosity repealed?

SukieTawdry on August 4, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Call me a skeptic, but I don’t have a lot of faith that Republicans will really kill the monster Obamacare. Both parties are hooked on political power.

slickwillie2001 on August 4, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Finally smeone speaking the unspeakable -the Wylie Couote party is really not agianst the Marxist party -what? And give up all this lucrative living.

Washington is the enemy within and it is clear that doubling down on reversing all they do, firing each and every one of them not doing (no more talk-action only) just that, is our only salvation.

Don L on August 4, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Cut it now, repeal it later… whatever, just kill it…

Khun Joe on August 4, 2011 at 5:54 PM

I’m curious to what happens if the Courts kill Obamacare and this ‘deal’. If killing Obamacare ‘saves’ a couple trillion over 10 years, does that mean Congress can spend even more?

drfredc on August 5, 2011 at 1:27 AM