The GOP budget guru's plan to balance a budget would require a nearly impossible swing of seats in 2014. How can anyone take it seriously?
Democratic reactions to Paul Ryan's past budget proposals have run the gamut from skeptical to hostile to dismissive. Now add one more reason for all of the above: Even though President Obama won the 2012 election, Ryan's new plan to balance the federal budget in 10 years relies on repealing the Affordable Care Act.
The House Budget Committee chairman and former Republican vice-presidential nominee aims to save hundreds of billions by turning Medicaid into a block grant and handing it off to the states. "By repealing Obamacare, and the Medicaid expansions which haven't occurred yet, we are basically preventing an explosion of a program that is already failing," Ryan said on Fox News Sunday. He also would keep hundreds of billions in Medicare cuts that are already in the 2010 health care law (and which he and Mitt Romney fiercely attacked during the 2012 campaign), by repealing the law but keeping the cuts and using the money to help pay down the deficit. And presto, by the latest numbers available, you've got nearly $1.5 trillion in cuts right there from those two programs.
But that is a giant leap of faith, as Fox host Chris Wallace pointed out. For the health-care law to be repealed before 2017, you'd have to believe that either Obama would, lamb-like, accept repeal of his signature domestic accomplishment, or that Republicans in 2014 would somehow win veto-proof two-thirds majorities in the House (290 votes if all 435 representatives are present, 58 more seats than the GOP held as of mid-March) and the Senate (67 votes, which would require a net gain of 22 seats).
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For repeal to be feasible in 2017, a Republican would have to win the White House in 2016; Republicans would need to hold their House majority, and Republicans would need a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate (15 more than they have now).