POLITICS
09/22/2013 12:01 pm ET Updated Sep 23, 2013

Chris Van Hollen Reminds Republicans Their Budget Includes Savings From Obamacare

WASHINGTON -- Days after House Republicans voted nearly unanimously for a measure to defund Obamacare, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) reminded them of one little detail: Their own budget relies on savings from President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law.

During an appearance on ABC's "This Week," Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said Republicans owe the public an explanation for how they can regularly vote to get rid of the Affordable Care Act -- they have now voted 42 times to repeal or defund it -- when they passed a budget that balances in part because of Obamacare savings.

Republicans "have to explain to the American people how they voted for a budget that includes all of the Medicare savings from Obamacare, that includes the same level of revenue generated from Obamacare and, in fact, would not even balance in 10 years, if not for the Affordable Care Act," Van Hollen said.

"That's misleading and that's a hoax," he added.

Van Hollen was joined on the show by Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), who authored the bill the House passed last week that would permanently defund Obamacare. Graves responded by turning to the fact that the health care law still isn't popular with the public. A recent ABC/Washington Post poll found that 52 percent of Americans remain opposed to the law, compared to 42 percent who support it.

"I mean, it's clear that I was in my district during August, listening to my constituents -- " Graves began, but was interrupted by Van Hollen.

"I asked a question about the budget, Tom," he said. "You guys passed a budget that assumes big parts of Obamacare are kept."

When Graves said the GOP budget also assumed Obamacare wouldn't be in effect, Van Hollen pointed out that wasn't the case.

"You assume all the Medicare savings in your budget," he said.

While it wouldn't keep every aspect of the health care law in place, the budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) does rely on Obamacare's $716 billion in cuts to Medicare and maintains its $1.2 trillion tax increase.

Graves again tried to reframe the issue, saying that Van Hollen had voted to impose a 25 percent increase in health insurance premiums on his constituents by voting against the Republican bill to defund Obamacare. Van Hollen again brought the focus back to Republicans' reliance on Obamacare savings.

"You guys don't want to provide affordable care under this system for millions of Americans, but you have a plan to take millions of people in Medicare and put them into the Obamacare system," he said. "That's what you're proposing to do."

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