Miller wonders: How will GOP pay for healthcare repeal?

Repealing healthcare reform — a top priority of the newly empowered Republicans — won't be cheap, a top House Democrat warned this week. 

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) is wondering how Republicans would pay the tab in a political environment where deficit spending is seen as toxic. 

"This healthcare bill … saves $100 billion in the first 10 years and $1 trillion in the second 10 years," Miller said Wednesday in an interview with San Francisco's KGO radio."So they're going to have to pay for those changes when they go back to their so-called commonsense ideas." 

Republicans have been largely united in their calls to repeal and replace the Democrats' new healthcare law, slamming reforms as a government takeover of the healthcare system the country can't afford. But they've been largely silent about how they'd rein in skyrocketing healthcare costs, particularly in Medicare and Medicaid.

Miller, the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, warned that cost isn't the only hurdle facing repeal supporters. As patients and consumers start to benefit from the provisions contained in the law, he said, public resistance to repeal will grow more entrenched.

Republicans, Miller said, "have to understand that when they repeal healthcare … senior citizens will pay more for prescription drugs, young people will lose their healthcare coverage, and once again we'll have pre-existing conditions that keep women and children and others from getting access to healthcare when they need it."