Three GOP Senate leaders declared Sunday that they have united the party around an ObamaCare backup plan, just days before the Supreme Court hears its biggest healthcare case in three years.
“Republicans have a plan to create a bridge away from Obamacare,” Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchWeek ahead: Senate panel to vote on Trump's FDA pick Chaffetz's campaign arm registers 2028 websites The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Utah.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderGroups warn of rural health 'crisis' under ObamaCare repeal Trump’s Army pick faces tough confirmation fight Trump faces risky ObamaCare choice MORE (R-Tenn.) and John BarrassoJohn BarrassoPoll: Sanders most popular senator in the US The animal advocate Trump climate move risks unraveling Paris commitments MORE (R-Wyo.), wrote in an op-ed published in The Washington Post late Sunday.
The three GOP chairmen revealed new pieces of a strategy in case of a plaintiff victory in King v. Burwell, a conservative-backed lawsuit that alleges people in 37 states have been illegally receiving subsidies under the Affordable Care act.
Their first idea, which they say is their top priority, is giving people money to help them “keep the coverage they picked for a transitional period.”
“It would be unfair to allow families to lose their coverage, particularly in the middle of the year,” they wrote. The senators do not say how the “financial help” would differ from the current tax credits under the healthcare law.
The senators also promise to work with governors in those 37 states, nearly all run by Republican governors, to offer them “freedom and flexibility” to move away from ObamaCare. The governors have recently raised alarms about having to rapidly adapt to the potential loss of billions of dollars of subsidies.
The Republicans’ op-ed is an effort to counter criticism that the party is unprepared to address the potential fallout, as well as appeal to the Supreme Court justices as they begin arguments.
If the court rules against the Obama administration, experts warn that more than 8 million people would lose their subsidies, and many could be forced to drop their health insurance coverage.
The new details of their plan also comes one week after freshman Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) penned his own explosive op-ed in which he warned the Republican Party could “lose the whole war” against ObamaCare because too many Republicans remain divided on a replacement strategy.
Sasse also pledged to create his own plan, which would include temporary financial help for consumers who purchased insurance through the Affordable Care Act. A spokesman for Sasse stressed Sunday that the plan would not simply extend the current subsidies but create a new type of assistance program.
King v. Burwell is widely viewed as the Republican’s best chance to undo the healthcare before 2016. But fears within the Republicans party have grown in recent weeks, as the party struggles to unite around a strategy to prevent the massive disruption that could come from a plaintiff victory.
Even as the law remains unpopular nationally, polls show the vast majority of Americans support the subsidies. Still, many conservatives remain firmly opposed to any piece of ObamaCare, including subsidies.