Republican efforts to scrap President Barack Obama’s health care reform hit new trouble on Thursday when budget analysts put the cost of a repeal at billions of dollars and Senate Democrats promised to defend the law.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated overturning the reform signed by Obama last year would add about $230 billion to the deficit by 2021 and result in 32 million fewer people having health insurance.
That was a blow to Republican promises to cut the federal budget deficit.
Democrats, who still control the Senate, promised they would protect health care reform, Obama’s signature legislative victory.
“I don’t think they expect — certainly they shouldn’t expect — the Senate to go along with this kind of wholesale repeal,” assistant Senate Democratic leader Dick Durbin told reporters.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives will vote on repealing the law next week in what will probably be a symbolic gesture given the Senate’s likely opposition.
New House Speaker John Boehner, who has promised to bring down the $1.3 trillion federal deficit, disputed the numbers.