House GOP Really Think They Can Amend Obamacare This Fall

While congressional leaders continue to debate whether to pursue near-full repeal of the Affordable Care Act through budget reconciliation, and GOP presidential candidates lay out Obamacare-replacement proposals, House Republicans are looking at a smaller batch of changes to the health care law they think could make it to President Obama’s desk.

House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady told National Journal that his panel could mark up health care tax legislation later this year. He floated bills related to over-the-counter drugs, health savings accounts, and—perhaps most ambitiously—a repeal of Obamacare’s unpopular “Cadillac tax” on high-end insurance plans.

The health care agenda will be determined in part by Capitol Hill’s other business. Lawmakers have a full plate when they return from August recess: Avoid (or create) a government shutdown at the end of September, raise (or force a fight over) the nation’s debt ceiling in October, debate the Iran nuclear deal, and host a visit from Pope Francis, for starters.

“We’ve heard for so long from both parties … about support for” making smaller changes to the law, Brady said, adding later in reference to reconciliation that “in the House, we’ve had numerous opportunities to repeal all or many of the parts.”