POLITICS
11/21/2012 12:14 pm ET

John Boehner: Obamacare Should Be On The Table For Debt Talks

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in an op-ed published Tuesday night that Obamacare should be included in talks for a debt reduction deal, taking a somewhat harder line on the issue than he did in an interview earlier this month.

"The president’s health care law adds a massive, expensive, unworkable government program at a time when our national debt already exceeds the size of our country’s entire economy. We can’t afford it, and we can’t afford to leave it intact," he wrote in the Cincinnati Enquirer. "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."

Boehner has expressed this wish before, but in softer language. In an interview with ABC News earlier this month, he said, "It's pretty clear that the president was reelected, Obamacare -- is the law of the land. I think there are parts -- of -- the healthcare law that -- are going to be very difficult to implement. And very expensive. And as -- the time when we're trying to find a way to create a path -- toward a balanced budget -- everything has to be on the table."

The House GOP has tried to repeal Obamacare 33 times since it took control in early 2011, and even one time after the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality. Those efforts have cost taxpayers nearly $50 million, according to a report by CBS news.

Elsewhere in the op-ed, Boehner said that the "tactics" to repeal the law will change and that "congressional oversight will play a critical role in repealing Obamacare going forward." He mentions a subpoena for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over information about funds to promote the new health care law. However, promoting laws is a common practice, and George W. Bush's administration spent millions to promote the Medicare Part D Benefit after signing the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003.

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