By Sarah Ferris – 03/27/15
URL of the Original Posting Site: http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/237262-ryan-gop-will-have-immediate-response-for-obamacare-court-ruling
When the Supreme Court drops its big ObamaCare ruling this summer, Republican leaders say they will be fully ready to step in — even if it won’t be the party’s official replacement plan.
“We have to be prepared, by the time the ruling comes, to have something. Not months later,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters this week.
Ryan said he plans to have a bill ready — and priced by the Congressional Budget Office — by late June when a ruling for King v. Burwell is expected. The GOP-backed case, which threatens to erase people’s subsidies in about three-quarters of states, has tremendously high stakes.
“There are going to be 37 states immediately impacted, or presumably impacted, and that’s something that deserves an immediate response,” Ryan told reporters.
He declined to provide details about the plan that he and other GOP chairmen are drafting, but said it would offer “freedom” and “more choices” for any ObamaCare customers who loses their subsidies. Until the ruling, he said King v. Burwell will be one of his top three agenda items. If the Republicans win, they will use a budget tool known as reconciliation to move the healthcare legislation. Bills written under the reconciliation process cannot be filibustered in the Senate, and as such are more likely to reach President Obama’s desk.
Ryan’s committee was one of several in the House to be given reconciliation instructions, which he said he would use on ObamaCare if he gets the chance. The potential fallout from King v. Burwell has sent Republicans into a scramble to find a short-term solution that prevents people from losing their healthcare plans without making ObamaCare any more permanent. But Ryan stressed that the case has not distracted from the Republican’s overall goal of creating a comprehensive backup plan to the full ObamaCare law.
“Once we deal with [King v. Burwell], I fully intend on articulating what we ought to replace the whole thing with,” he said. “Not knowing what’s going to happen with King v. Burwell will determine when we get to more robust replacement of ObamaCare,” he added.
Republicans in Congress are under even more pressure to create a plan B for ObamaCare subsidies because the federal government maintains that the healthcare law cannot work without them, putting pressure on the court to again uphold the law.
Ryan has been meeting regularly with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) to draft the House GOP plan. Their work is in conjunction with a Senate planning group led by Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). Both the House and Senate groups released their own frameworks of their plans the week of the King v. Burwell arguments — another posture to the court.