As congressional leaders and President Barack Obama search for common ground to tame the national debt as the weeks dwindle down to end of the year, House Speaker John Boehner said the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, must be included in deficit negotiations.

“We can’t afford it, and we can’t afford to leave it intact,” Boehner wrote of Obama’s signature healthcare initiative 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.”

Though Republicans have continually pushed for a full repeal of the law, Obama’s re-election marked the next step in its implementation. Each state is required to decide whether to set up its own health care exchange – where individuals and small businesses can purchase affordable health care, subsidizing insurance for low-income consumers – or choose to have the federal government manage the state’s exchange.

In the editorial Boehner lauded Ohio Governor John Kasich’s decision Friday refusing to set up a state-run exchange, the result being the federal government management of the state’s health care exchange.

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