Republicans are ready to extend an olive branch to the Obama administration if the Supreme Court decides to rule against them in the highly anticipated King v. Burwell case. The outcome of this decision could gut Obamacare subsidies for millions of Americans who signed up on their states’ respective health care exchanges. They’re prepared to temporarily extend those subsidies (via the Hill):
House conservatives are hinting at support for a temporary extension of Obama-Care subsidies if the Supreme Court cripples the law, even as they set up a working group to develop their own plan.
The high court is set to rule later this month in the case of King v. Burwell, which could invalidate subsidies for millions of people in at least 34 states using the federally run marketplace. Republicans say they need to be ready to address people losing their coverage, but have yet to coalesce around a plan.
Now another proposal is in the works. Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus told The Hill they are setting up a group of four or five lawmakers, led by Rep. John Fleming (R-La.). The lawmakers will develop a plan meant to influence the main House working group led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and two other panel chairmen, which Fleming complained is meeting in “secret.”
While working on their own ideas, Freedom Caucus members are also open to something like Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-Wis.) idea to temporarily extend subsidies.
Johnson’s plan would extend ObamaCare subsidies through August 2017, when he hopes there will be a Republican president, while also repealing the law’s individual and employer mandates.
His bill has 31 Republican co-sponsors in the Senate, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). It has not received the same welcome in the House, though; Ryan’s working group is still publicly undecided on the question, and House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) came out in opposition to the idea last month.
Other members said they were originally skeptical when told of the idea to extend ObamaCare subsidies but warmed to it once they learned Johnson’s plan would also repeal the individual and employer mandates, which they say gives people more freedom.
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) called it a “bad idea to continue the subsides, especially for the length of time that Senator Johnson is suggesting.”
Republicans acknowledge they will face pressure to do something if the court rules for the challengers. Figures from the Obama administration released Tuesday show 6.4 million people would lose subsidies that help them afford insurance.
The states that did not set up their own exchanges, and are therefore in danger of losing subsidies, are concentrated in the Midwest and South — areas many of the conservative members represent.
Of course, all of the plans could be moot if the court rules for the administration and upholds the subsidies. The court could also delay the expiration of the subsidies to give time for a backup plan to kick in. The main House and Senate working groups say they will not release their full plans until after they see the details of the ruling.
Written by Matt Vespa
Read more at Townhall
Please visit our Christian Patriots Facebook Page