House Republicans to Draft Obamacare Replacement
House Republicans said Friday they were forming a group to craft legislation that could replace Obamacare, parts of which are threatened by the upcoming Supreme Court case King v. Burwell.
The plaintiffs in the case argue that the Affordable Care Act only allows for healthcare subsidies to flow through state-run insurance exchanges, and that the federal exchange is illegal. If the court rules in their favor with no legislative fix in place, anywhere from four to nine million people in the 36 states using the federal exchange could lose their health insurance.
“If the Supreme Court rules as we expect, then millions more families will have their coverage in danger because Obamacare is fundamentally flawed,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a statement Friday. “So we’re going to keep working to protect hardworking taxpayers from the fallout of Obamacare and move toward the ultimate goal of a patient-centered system.”
McCarthy said that the group would also have a contingency legislation in place to prevent any fallouts from King v. Burwell.
Republicans see such a decision as an opportunity to repeal large parts of Obamacare, including the individual mandate, but the president will likely push for a technical fix that merely legalizes the federal exchange.
“This president is going to try to force Republicans to pass a one-page fix that says, make all that he has done illegal, and make it legal with a one-page bill,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo) told the Washington Examiner. “I don’t see Republicans doing that. I think if he does want to continue subsidies for some period of time—which will be a limited period of time—that he’s going to have to agree to make some significant, what he would consider concessions.”
Last week, Senate Republicans introduced a bill to repeal the individual mandate, and Friday introduced legislation to repeal the employer mandate under Obamacare, proposals the president has preemptively vowed to veto.
“I hear Republicans are holding their 50th or 60th vote … to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act. I’ve lost count at this point. But here’s something easy to remember — if that bill ever actually reached my desk, I would happily veto it,” Obama said at the House Democratic Issues Conference Thursday.
A group of Senate Republicans had previously proposed last year legislation ideas to replace Obamacare with more streamlined subsidies, and reports say that the same group is again working on legislation that could offer as a substitute for Obamacare.