The Next Great Republican Debt Limit Demand (That Won't Be Met)

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 31 2014 1:57 PM

The Next Great Republican Debt Limit Demand (That Won't Be Met)

The third and final day of the House GOP retreat was supposed to end with a few members talking to reporters about fiscal policy. Didn't end up happening; Republicans stayed in their hotel discussing their next moves when the debt limit needs to be raised. The most popular theoretical demand, as Bob Costa reports, is an increase in the limit paired with the end of Obamacare's "risk corridors." Josh Barro explains, better than I can, what this would mean.

The government is effectively reinsuring the insurers for the first three years of Obamacare: If claims exceed expectations during the first three years, the government will cover much of the excess cost; if claims are less than expected, insurers will pay the government.
The risk corridors will help insurers resist the temptation to raise premiums on the basis of first-year performance; if claims in 2014 are high, insurers can rely on the reinsurance payments and hope the participant pool broadens out by the time the risk corridor program ends in 2017.
Advertisement

Well, you get what you wish for. Earlier this month I'd asked why Republicans failed to make this demand during the continuing resolution debate. Marco Rubio had been running around the Capitol asking for Republicans to end the "Obamacare bailout" with him. Only after the CR was passed did outside conservative groups start collecting endorsements for a "No Bailout!!!" campaign. Seemed a little late ... but the hope, as we now see, was to put this on the agenda for the debt limit.

Maybe I'm just poisoned by cynicism and recent events, but I don't see this happening. We've watched this drama before, and it ends when the Senate crushes whatever poison pill the House Republicans gave them. The Senate sends back a "clean" debt limit increase, with some less desirable riders; this is what passes. Yesterday, when he was asked about the debt limit fight, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden kept turning the conversation away from policy and back to how devastating the shutdown had been for his party. That's the guy tasked with keeping the GOP House. He's on message: The GOP doesn't want another crisis this year. It wants to win in 2014, then have a Republican Senate sign off on the demands.

Still, get ready for it. "Risk corridors." The "Obamacare bailout." That's the demand du jour, replacing the Vitter Amendment in these sorts of negotiations.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 17 2014 11:48 PM Spanking Is Great for Sex Which is why it’s grotesque for parenting.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?