Paul Ryan’s love-hate relationship with Obamacare

March 11, 2013

The big story from Rep. Paul Ryan's appearance on "Fox News Sunday" seems to be that his budget assumes the repeal of Obamacare. That's (a) not news and (b) not true.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(Chip Somodevilla -- Getty Images)

Every Ryan budget since the passage of Obamacare has assumed the repeal of Obamacare. Kinda. Ryan's version of repeal means getting rid of all the parts that spend money to give people health insurance but keeping the tax increases and the Medicare cuts that pays for that health insurance, as without those policies, it is very, very difficult for Ryan to hit his deficit-reduction targets.

His new budget won't be any different. After criss-crossing the country with Mitt Romney condemning Obamacare's Medicare cuts, Ryan says they will once again be in his budget. As Talking Points Memo's Sahil Kapur cheekily tweets, "Paul Ryan was against ACA's Medicare cuts before he was for them before he was against them before he was for them."

Ryan has also said he'll use the new revenue baseline as the basis for his revenue-neutral tax reform plan -- that means including both the tax increases of the Affordable Care Act and the "fiscal cliff" deal.

That's the irony of Ryan's balanced-budget. Much of it is built on taxes and Medicare cuts that he and his party would never have proposed, and which they in fact fought bitterly, but which they've now assimilated into their budget because it's almost impossible for them to hit their deficit-reduction goals otherwise. The Obama administration hasn't given Republicans what they want, but at times, it's given them what they need.

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