What could Republicans get for allowing permanent end to the debt ceiling?

10/14/2013 3:49 PM

10/14/2013 3:49 PM

Writing for Slate, columnist Matt Yglesias suggests a really grand bargain

: a permanent end to the debt limit.

There is, of course, a catch. What could the Democrats offer in exchange to get it? Yglesias doesn’t say.

So here’s a possibility: A one-year delay in the ACA’s individual mandate.

It’s

becoming increasingly clear the federal health insurance marketplace isn’t up to the job, at least not yet. And facing a practical deadline of Dec. 15, it’s possible the administration may eventually have to delay the penalties associated with the mandate anyway — after all, you can’t penalize someone who tried to sign up but couldn’t because your software was bad

.

So a one-year delay in the mandate penalties would allow people more time to sign up, more time to work out the software bugs, and wouldn’t cost the government a lot of money, at least in terms of the revenue the penalties are supposed to produce.

Insurance companies, required to ignore pre-existing conditions, would squawk. And because premium costs would likely go up, government subsidies would also have to eventually go up too (offset in part by lower outlays in the skipped year.)

But trading a one-year mandate delay for a permanent end to the debt limit debate? A no-brainer.

And it has the interesting potential of requiring anti-Obamacare lawmakers to reconcile their love of debt-ceiling brinksmanship with their hatred of the ACA.

Discuss.

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