GOP chairman: No ObamaCare extension if court cripples law

GOP chairman: No ObamaCare extension if court cripples law
© Greg Nash

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) said Thursday that he does not support an idea backed by Senate Republican leadership to temporarily extend ObamaCare subsidies if the Supreme Court cripples the law. 

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“I don’t think that I would be able to be supportive of continuing the subsidies beyond what the court would allow,” Price told The Hill. 

A plan from Sen. Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonDems ask for hearings on Russian attempts to attack election infrastructure GOP senators unveil bill to give Congress control of consumer bureau budget GOP gets bolder in breaking with Trump MORE (R-Wis.) to continue the subsidies until 2017 has been co-sponsored by Senate Republican leaders; Price becomes one of the most prominent Republicans to come out against the idea. 

The idea behind the temporary continuation is that if the Supreme Court invalidates subsidies for around 7.5 million people in the case of King v. Burwell, the party does not want people to immediately lose their insurance. The extension is intended to give time for a Republican alternative to be put in place. 

But Price wants to move sooner to a full Republican alternative instead of going to a temporary bridge option first. 

On Wednesday, he reintroduced his Empowering Patients First Act, a plan he has also put forward in previous sessions of Congress. The bill would repeal ObamaCare and replace it with refundable, age-adjusted tax credits for buying insurance. It would give grants for high-risk pools as an insurance option for people with pre-existing conditions. 

The budget passed by Republicans sets a deadline of July 24 for submitting to each chamber’s Budget Committee a Republican contingency plan if the Court strikes down the subsidies. The plan could then go through the process known as reconciliation that requires only 51 votes instead of 60 in the Senate. 

Asked if House and Senate Republicans could agree on a plan before then, Price said, “I think so.”

There are currently multiple competing plans. Johnson, as well as Sens. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Ted CruzTed CruzTrump to interview four candidates for national security adviser Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at CPAC Reports: Petraeus off the list, Trump down to three candidates to replace Flynn MORE (R-Texas) and Marco RubioMarco RubioTop Dem: GOP is terrified of Trump McConnell on Trump: 'I'm not a fan of the daily tweets' Senate Intel head in the dark about Trump intelligence review MORE (R-Fla.), have all put forward plans. 

Sen. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoOvernight Energy: EPA pick Pruitt set for Friday vote | Dems plan all-night protest | Trump nixes Obama coal mining rule Judge orders release of EPA nominee’s emails Dems blast McConnell for not delaying vote on EPA nominee MORE (R-Wyo.) is leading a working group with other chairmen to come up with a Senate plan. 

While Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGOP Congress unnerved by Trump bumps Top Dem: GOP is terrified of Trump Senate confirms Pruitt to lead EPA MORE (R-Ky.) has co-sponsored Johnson’s plan, he is not endorsing it as the only Republican solution, and also supports Sasse’s plan.  

In the House, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul RyanTrump: ObamaCare replacement coming in 'a couple of weeks' GOP Congress unnerved by Trump bumps Top Dem: GOP is terrified of Trump MORE (R-Wis.) is working with two other chairmen on another plan. Ryan has said he wants the plan introduced and scored by the Congressional Budget Office before the court’s ruling, expected in late June. 

Price said he has given that group his input. 


The conservative Republican Study Committee is also working on a plan in the House. Chairman Bill FloresBill FloresGOP's ObamaCare talking points leave many questions unanswered Republicans impatient with anti-Trump civil servants Republicans who oppose, support Trump refugee order MORE (R-Texas) said last month that he had not yet decided whether to support a temporary extension of ObamaCare subsidies.