GOP moves to draft ObamaCare replacement

A trio of Republican committee chairmen will immediately get to work on drafting the party’s ObamaCare backup plan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced Friday.

The working group is forming one day after McCarthy announced the House would vote next week to fully repeal ObamaCare, marking the first repeal vote of the GOP-controlled Congress. 

McCarthy said Friday that the party “recognizes that full repeal requires a thoughtful replacement strategy.”

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The group, which includes Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP chairman to discuss Charlottesville as domestic terrorism at hearing Trump’s isolation grows GOP lawmaker: Trump 'failing' in Charlottesville response MORE (R-Wis.), will also be charged with creating a “contingency plan” to prepare for a looming Supreme Court decision that could undo Obamacare subsidies in 34 states.

The case, King v. Burwell, was a major point of discussion during the Republican party’s joint retreat in Hershey, Pa., earlier this month. The court challenge has prompted new criticism of the GOP for lacking a comprehensive ObamaCare backup plan. One Senate GOP aide said recently the party lacks “any coherent response” to the case.

In addition to Ryan, the two other chairmen shaping the ObamaCare alternative will be Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.).

Earlier this week, Upton sent a letter to the Obama administration demanding to know how it planned to respond if it lost in King v. Burwell. 

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell has repeatedly said she remains confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the subsidies. When asked about how the administration is preparing states for the worst-case scenario, Burwell has flatly declined to discuss the plan. 

“If the Supreme Court rules as we expect—that the law clearly doesn’t allow subsidies to be offered on the federal exchange—then millions more families will have their coverage in danger because ObamaCare is fundamentally flawed,” the majority leader and the chairmen wrote in a joint release.

“No family should pay for this administration’s mistakes. So we’re going to keep working to protect hardworking taxpayers from the fallout of ObamaCare and move toward the ultimate goal of a patient-centered system,” they added.

The group's efforts will likely run up against other lawmakers' plans to create ObamaCare alternatives. The Republican Study Committee is also working on a replacement plan.