Heritage Action’s Debate Question

The Washington Post asked the largest D.C. think tanks what questions they would want in the GOP candidates in tonight’s debate. Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham suggested the following:

“A third of small business owners say Obamacare is one of the biggest hurdles they face to hiring new workers and budget analysts estimate it is a trillion-dollar budget buster. Given its negative impact on the economy and federal budget, do you think it is appropriate to repeal Obamacare using reconciliation given that is the tactic which was employed to pass it?”

Great question. Obamacare undeniably alters the fundamental relationship between individuals and their government. It’s also bad for the economy. Here are some facts.

It’s true that as of June 2011, 30% of employers said they would most likely or definitely drop health coverage due to the costs of Obamacare and the fact that it would be cheaper to pay a fine and have their employees find health care on the Obamacare exchanges than provide the insurance themselves.

It’s also true that Obamacare will actually cost more than $1 trillion.

This question gets into the difficulty of repealing this massive government-takeover of the healthcare industry. Parts of Obamacare were passed under reconciliation, which is a fast-tracking process usually reserved for the annual budgeting. The Senate used this maneuver in order to get changes to their 2,000 page bill passed by a simple majority; because after the election of Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), it was clear they would not get the 60 vote threshold. In this same spirit, should Congress use reconciliation to repeal the law?

Remember that as recently as last week a majority of Americans supported repealing this law. The passage of this bill helped lead to the conservative wave that took back the House last November, and it is a bill that many Democrat Senators who are up for re-election are trying to distance themselves from, despite having voted for the entire law.

The question, if asked, would determine who is truly committed to overturning this disastrous law.

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