What's on the GOP's Obamacare checklist?

The Republicans' congressional victories this week position them to take aim at significant provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that could endanger its long-term viability. But only if they can agree on a plan of attack and stick with it. 

Targets are expected to include controversial provisions of the law such as the employer and individual insurance mandates and excise taxes on medical devices and health plans. Another likely target is the 30-hour-per-week definition of full-time work. 

“With the magnitude of the result, the Republicans will feel that this was a real referendum on their side and will feel empowered to take a lot of votes on ACA,” said Caroline Pearson, a vice president at the Washington-based research firm Avalere Health. “Anything in ACA is fair game.” 

The budget-reconciliation process could be crucial to those efforts because it allows for passage in the Senate with only 51 votes instead of the 60 votes required to break filibusters. Using that process to dismantle Obamacare would be seen as sweet revenge for Republicans since that's how the law was originally passed. 

“The Affordable Care Act is very much on the table,” said Stephen Northrup, who was the health policy director for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions the last time Republicans were in the majority and is now a partner at the Rampy Northrup lobbying firm. “Republicans are going to try to use budget reconciliation next year to do some targeted repeals of different pieces and provisions of the law.”

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