Policy

Corker Concerned About Repealing Obamacare Taxes Without Replacement

Could force Republicans to raise taxes later

Sen. Bob Corker is expressing concern about repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Bob Corker says Republicans need to be wary of a potential “box canyon” if they repeal Obamacare without a replacement in the queue.

The Tennessee Republican said Friday morning that he wants his colleagues to pay more attention to the fiscal issues with the effort to repeal Obamacare.

“The repeal process is going to repeal all revenue but keep in place the subsidies for three years,” Corker said. “You’re basically taking $116 billion and throwing it into a mud puddle … by continuing subsidies without revenue.”

Speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Corker outlined the potential “box canyon” that Republicans could find themselves in if they repeal all of the taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act on the front end.

If there’s a need to further extend the existing subsidies for lower- income health care recipients beyond the three-year bridge under discussion or if the replacement plan features refundable tax credits down the road, “that means Republicans would have to vote for a tax increase.”

Corker said to the reporters in attendance that the result could be an extension of current policy driven as much by inertia as by anything else.

But he did add that he recognized the “tremendous desire by Republicans to just repeal immediately,” but he favors the position espoused by President-elect Donald Trump.

Corker pointed to comments by Trump that said repeal and replace should be moved simultaneously and that “he continues to offer caution.” Corker did say that he has heard from some Democrats that they would not be prepared to work on on replacing the 2010 health care law until and unless the Republicans succeed in moving the repeal bill.

The Senate is currently debating a budget resolution that Republicans need to advance in order to get the reconciliation instructions needed to pass a repeal of the law with a simple-majority vote, although several GOP senators have already expressed concern about the “repeal and delay” strategy.

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