House GOP unveils replacement plan, if ObamaCare goes down

House GOP unveils replacement plan, if ObamaCare goes down
© Greg Nash

Three House Republican chairmen on Monday night outlined a healthcare plan to replace ObamaCare, if the Supreme Court guts the president's signature healthcare initiative. The court is this week hearing arguments in a challenge to key ObamaCare subsidies.

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The plan from Reps. Paul RyanPaul RyanRyan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Ryan: Americans want to see Trump talking with Dem leaders Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Wis.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and John Kline (R-Minn.) joins a separate proposal from Senate Republicans unveiled on Sunday night. Republicans are looking to show that they will be ready if the Court invalidates subsidies that help people buy insurance in roughly three dozen states.

If the Court rules against the law, the chairmen write in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, "Then what?"

"What about the people who will lose their subsidies—and possibly their coverage?" they add. "No family should pay for this administration’s overreach. That is why House Republicans have formed a working group to propose a way out for the affected states if the court rules against the administration."

The plan would roll back ObamaCare's mandates to buy insurance while also providing tax credits to help people afford coverage. 

The proposal is framed as an "off-ramp" from ObamaCare because it allows states to opt-out of mandates. Gone would be the requirement for individuals to buy insurance and for employers to provide it. 

ObamaCare includes protection for people with pre-existing medical conditions buying insurance, whether they already have coverage or not.

This plan guarantees that people who already have coverage are able to renew it. It also includes some elements of ObamaCare, such as letting people stay on their parents' plans until they are 26 and prohibiting lifetime limits on benefits.

The second main element of the plan would offer people in states losing ObamaCare's subsidies some tax credits to help them buy insurance. The size of the refundable credits would be adjusted for age, with the elderly getting more support.

This plan differs from one put forward by Senate Republicans in that it does not outline a proposal for transitional assistance for people losing subsidies.

The plan put forward by Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchFinance to hold hearing on ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea Week ahead in finance: Clock ticking for GOP on tax reform MORE (R-Utah), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderWeek ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets Corker pressed as reelection challenges mount Overnight Health Care: CBO predicts 15 percent ObamaCare premium hike | Trump calls Sanders single-payer plan ‘curse on the US’ | Republican seeks score of Sanders’s bill MORE (R-Tenn.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoDems force 'Medicare for All' on Americans but exempt themselves GOP sees fresh opening with Dems’ single payer embrace Overnight Health Care: CBO predicts 15 percent ObamaCare premium hike | Trump calls Sanders single-payer plan ‘curse on the US’ | Republican seeks score of Sanders’s bill MORE (R-Wyo.) offers financial assistance to let people temporarily keep their ObamaCare plans. 

The House chairmen's plan is "silent on that question right now," said House Ways and Means Committee spokesman Brendan Buck. 

The senators' plan refers to giving states more flexibility to create their own systems. 

The House chairmen's op-ed acknowledges the differences. 

"This is a common-sense path—but many members of Congress have proposed a lot of good ideas that deserve further consideration," the chairmen write. "For example, some have suggested giving states more flexibility to design their own solutions. Yet when House and Senate Republicans discuss this issue, we find that there is a great deal of consensus. We all want to take power away from Washington."