"You look at the Republicans and you see that there's going to be a spectrum on how deep they're going to be willing to cut various things," said Hennessey, currently a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. "The question is just how far toward the Ryan plan can you get the moderate Republicans."
On the other hand, combining the repeal of Obama's health care law with other GOP priorities like curbing the deficit gives lawmakers who are not part of the leadership plenty of incentive to vote for the package.
"When elections are about certain policies and are defined on that, you've got momentum to do those things," said House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy of California.
A simple-majority reconciliation bill could certainly cover the health care law's tax increases — including the penalties used to enforce the individual mandate to buy insurance — and subsidies for insurance premiums.
Republicans, however, could not use the filibuster-proof budget process to repeal provisions in the health care that don't have a direct impact on the government's balance sheet. For example, it still would likely take 60 Senate votes to repeal the law's requirement that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions.
Experts say leaving the insurance reforms intact on their own is economically unsustainable because the ratio of sick to healthy people in the plans would be out of balance.
"If you were to remove everything else in reconciliation and be left with the insurance provisions, you have something that everybody recognizes is unworkable," said former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin. "I think if you take enough out, the rest probably has to go."
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