Boehner Wants 'Obamacare' in Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

Image credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

President Obama's reelection guaranteed at least one thing for his second term - Obamacare is here here to stay. But that is not going to keep Republicans from trying to chip away at the law. House Speaker John Boehner wrote, in an op-ed, Tuesday that cuts to the president's landmark legislative achievement should be included in efforts to deal with the looming fiscal cliff.

"We can't afford it, and we can't afford to leave it intact. That's why I've been clear that the law has to stay on the table as both parties discuss ways to solve our nation's massive debt challenge," said Boehner.

The Affordable Care Act - or Obamacare as it is more commonly known - has been a favorite target of Republicans. Mitt Romney pledged to work to repeal it. House Republicans have tried to de-fund it.

But the election stopped those efforts in their tracks.

Even House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in the country, told ABC's Diane Sawyer just after election day that plans to do away with the national health law were changed by the election and that Obamacare was the "law of the land." He later clarified over twitter that "Our goal has been and will remain, #fullrepeal." That may be the goal, but his arsenal of political tools makes it a long shot.

Where Boehner does have some room to negotiate is on the fiscal cliff - that cocktail of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board spending hikes set to kick in at the end of the year. Lawmakers are engaged in harried negotiations on a way to avoid all of the spending cuts, although Republicans want to keep some of them, and allowing all of the tax cuts to expire, although Democrats want higher taxes for the wealthy.

The Speaker argued that the President's healthcare law is too expensive and that any serious deal to tackle the deficit should include talks of a full repeal.

"If we're serious about getting our economy moving again, solving our debt and restoring prosperity for American families, we need to repeal Obamacare and enact common-sense, step-by-step reforms that start with lowering the cost of health care," said Boehner.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act will cost $109 billion. However several recent studies suggest that the burden may be shifted to individuals as health insurance premiums continue to rise at an increased rate.