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 JohnsonDem groups invest big in Bayh in Ind. Senate race DHS head: 750 immigrants granted accidental citizenship Johnson links Dem opponent to Clinton email scandal 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 CruzFunding bill rejected as shutdown nears Cruz: Clinton 'tired' and 'formulaic' during debate The Trail 2016: Fight night MORE (R-Texas) and Marco RubioMarco RubioObama nominates ambassador to Cuba Rubio praises Marlins pitcher José Fernández on Senate floor Glenn Beck: I was wrong about Ted Cruz MORE (R-Fla.), have all put forward plans. 

Sen. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoGOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase Tribes open new front in fight over pipelines Pipeline delay stirs anger, but not yet action, on Capitol Hill MORE (R-Wyo.) is leading a working group with other chairmen to come up with a Senate plan. 

While Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellDems gain upper hand on budget Overnight Finance: Senate rejects funding bill as shutdown looms | Labor Dept. to probe Wells Fargo | Fed to ease stress test rules for small banks Overnight Energy: Judges scrutinize Obama climate rule 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 Ryan GOP lawmakers give Trump bad reviews on debate performance Team Trump: Debate won’t move needle in race for White House GOP rebuffs call to uphold Obama veto 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 FloresRepublican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman Week ahead in tech: Crunch time for internet handoff opponents GOPers fear trillion-dollar vote is inevitable MORE (R-Texas) said last month that he had not yet decided whether to support a temporary extension of ObamaCare subsidies.