Brit Hume, that expert on the rules of the Senate, is absolutely certain that the consumer protection provisions of the Affordable Care Act can be repealed by using the Senate reconciliation rules, bypassing the filibuster and repealing it with a simple majority of Senators.
Aside from the cruelty these Republicans flash at us over and over again, Hume is dreaming.
Let's review the rules. Reconciliation may be used only for those provisions which directly affect the budget. So while it is true that the Personal Responsibility Donation (PRD) might be repealed via budget reconciliation, that would be irresponsible, because in fact, the consumer protections may not be repealed via budget reconciliation.
As you may recall, the Senate passed the Affordable Care Act on December 23, 2009 and returned it to the House for ratification. They bypassed the conference committee and cut a deal with the House. That deal was to approve the Senate bill as passed but attach amendments to it to cut the banks out of student loan funding and other tweaks. Those tweaks were passed via the reconciliation process.
If Brit is so certain they can use reconciliation to repeal the pre-existing conditions clause, he ought to go back to the history of the public option, which House Democrats tried to attach to the amendments submitted via reconciliation only to be refused, because the public option had no direct budgetary impact.
These guys know they're done. What they're doing now is just feeding the base some red meat. It's pretty shameful to see someone who calls himself a journalist actually trying to figure out a way to deny health care access to people who need it, but I think Paul Krugman sums up the attitude of conservatives, and Hume just illustrates it:
What was and is really striking about the anti-reformers is their cruelty. It would be one thing if, at any point, they had offered any hint of an alternative proposal to help Americans with pre-existing conditions, Americans who simply can't afford expensive individual insurance, Americans who lose coverage along with their jobs. But it has long been obvious that the opposition's goal is simply to kill reform, never mind the human consequences.
Yes. Not only kill reform, but also kill people. Brit and his ilk are perfectly fine with that. How Christian.