If the law is partially or fully overturned they’ll draw up bills to keep the popular, consumer-friendly portions in place — like allowing adult children to remain on parents’ health care plans until age 26, and forcing insurance companies to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Ripping these provisions from law is too politically risky, Republicans say.
The post-Supreme Court plan — a ruling should come in June — has long been whispered about inside House leadership circles and among the House’s elected physicians but is now being discussed with a larger groups of lawmakers, showing that Republicans are aggressively preparing for a big-time health care debate in the heat of an election-year summer.
On Tuesday, the major options were discussed during a small closed meeting of House Republican leaders, according to several sources present.
Then on Wednesday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) gave the entire House Republican Conference a preview of where the party is heading. His message: “When the court rules, we’ll be ready.”
But Boehner warned that they’ll relegislate the issue in smaller, bite sizes, rather than putting together an unwieldy new health care bill.
“If all or part of the law is struck down, we are not going to repeat the Democrats’ mistakes,” Boehner said, according to several sources present. “We have better ideas on health care — lots of them. We have solutions, of course, for patients with pre-existing conditions and other challenges.”
The plan represents an aggressive posture from House Republicans. It seeks to shelter them from criticism from the left that they’re leaving uninsured Americans out to dry. Aides caution the plans could still be changed — but this outline, confirmed by several sources with direct knowledge of the planning, represents the broad sketch of what’s likely to come this summer.
The court is expected to issue its ruling on the mandate and the future of the health law in late June. The ruling is all but sure to be the most controversial of the term, sending health care back into the headlines and making it a major talking point on the campaign trail.
Opening the legislative can of worms on health care after such an emotional Supreme Court ruling would be tricky — and would come with major risks.
First, if the law’s popular insurance provisions are struck, Republicans know Democrats are going to blame them for “putting insurance companies back in charge” — a refrain Obama has already used on the campaign trail. .... continue reading