Newspaper article Roll Call

Senate GOP Has No Definite Options in Response to Obamacare Case

Newspaper article Roll Call

Senate GOP Has No Definite Options in Response to Obamacare Case

Article excerpt

The GOP hasn't "signed off" on a plan to respond should the Supreme Court strike down most health insurance subsidies in King v. Burwell, Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Barrasso said on the eve of oral arguments in the case.

Pressed for details on how a plan the Wyoming Republican offered with two Senate colleagues might compare to the current structure of the Affordable Care Act or a two-part "off-ramp out of Obamacare" put forth by three House GOP committee chairman, Barrasso said discussions were ongoing. He said a transition would likely involve federal funds, and that Republican governors would likely have a say.

Accompanied by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, Barrasso trekked to the high court Wednesday to hear oral argument in the case. All three have criticized the White House for not having an alternative policy should the justices rule against the law.

"Republicans will continue to prepare for the Court's ruling," Barrasso said in a statement after the hearing. "We agree that we should protect people harmed by the administration's actions and provide states and people with a way out of Obamacare's costly rules. Republicans are considering a wide range of ideas for stopping the damage caused by President Obama's unlawful actions."

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats continue to belittle GOP efforts to draft a replacement.

"These so-called plans that are being rushed out to influence the court are not worth the paper they're printed on," Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said during a Tuesday conference call. He predicted opponents' plans would "fall woefully short of anything that could be called a replacement."

"Even if the plans could be actually drafted and introduced as a bill, there's no guarantee they'd come close to passing," Schumer said. …

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