Days after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's signature health care law, a top Republican argued that the math behind a repeal is simpler than meets the eye.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appeared on "Fox News Sunday," highlighting how the court's language paved the way for a simple majority to erase Obamacare's individual mandate.
"The Chief Justice said it's a tax," McConnell said. "Taxes are clearly what we call reconcilable. That's the kind of measure that can be pursued with 51 votes in the Senate."
In the high court's Thursday majority ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts stated that the individual mandate "need not be read to do more than impose a tax. That is sufficient to sustain it." Under that section of the law, virtually all Americans are required to obtain bare bones health coverage, or face a fee.
From the Obama administration side, White House Chief Of Staff Jack Lew stayed away from using the "tax" term in a Sunday appearance on ABC's "This Week." When asked if the law survived because Roberts found the mandate to be a tax, Lew chose "penalty" instead.
"He went through the different powers that Congress has and found that there is a power, whatever you call it, to assess a penalty like this," Lew said.
"He called it a tax," host George Stephanopoulos responded, leading to a smile from Lew.
Outside of the individual mandate, whisking away the law's other signature elements stands to be a tougher effort. Benefits such as children staying on their parents' health plans until age 26 do not fall under the tax classification, and would require more than a 51-vote GOP coup.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who currently stands as a vice presidential favorite, admitted on Friday that "you can't get everywhere with reconciliation."
“We may get a majority," he told The New York Times. "But we will need to work with the other side."
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