NPR’s Julie Rovner debunks Republican claims that this process has never before been used to make sweeping changes in health care law. Indeed, the COBRA law that allows those who lose their jobs to continue buying their employer’s coverage is actually an acronym for (*cough*) Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (*cough*).
Rovner tells us:
In fact, over the past three decades, the number of major health financing measures that were NOT passed via budget reconciliation can be counted on one hand. And one of those — the 1988 Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act — was repealed the following year after a backlash by seniors who were asked to underwrite the measure themselves. So using the process to try to pass a health overhaul bill might not be easy. But it won’t be unprecedented.
UPDATE: Regarding the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, it’s probably worth pointing out that, in 1985, Ronald Reagan was President and the Senate majority was Republican (53 seats).