You may have heard that Congress passed a budget that sets in motion repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Here are the key facts.
Congress passed earlier this month a budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2017, which actually began on October 1 of last year. We’ve previously noted how broken the federal budget process is and the need to fix it.
The budget was supported by Republicans who control Congress and provides a vehicle to repeal and replace Obamacare without the support of Democrats. The budget allows repeal to be done through the reconciliation process, which means that a simple majority will be required to pass it, no filibuster requiring 60 votes will be allowed.
This budget does nothing to fix the debt. In fact, the baseline in the budget assumes that national debt will increase by $9 trillion over the next decade. Lawmakers have promised that the Fiscal Year 2018 budget will address the growing deficits and debt.
That process needs to begin soon. The statutory deadline to pass the budget resolution is April 15, though that deadline is often missed.
At the same time, Congress must still finalize a spending plan for the current fiscal year as the new budget does not close the books on the process. The stopgap measure currently funding the government expires on April 28. We explain how the government spending process is supposed to work.
How Congress decides to repeal and replace Obamacare could significantly affect the debt. Full repeal could cost $350 billion through 2027. Maya MacGuineas also explains the budget implications of repeal in a short video.
There are ways to repeal and replace in a fiscally responsible manner. Our partners at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget offered some principles to follow.
We need a budget that addresses the growing national debt and legislation being considered by Congress needs to help fix the debt, or at least not make things worse.