Key conservatives don't rule out temporary ObamaCare extensions

Key conservatives don't rule out temporary ObamaCare extensions
© Greg Nash

Several key conservative lawmakers aren't ruling out support for proposals to temporarily extend people’s ObamaCare plans if the Supreme Court strikes down subsidies under the law.

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“I don’t want to prejudge that debate right now, I want to assess the options,” said Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest 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 GOP state lawmakers meet to plan possible constitutional convention MORE (R-Texas). 

Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRhode Island announces plan to pay DACA renewal fee for every 'Dreamer' in state Mich. Senate candidate opts for House run instead NAACP sues Trump for ending DACA MORE (R-Ala.) raised concerns about how long the extension would be, but also suggested he could consider it.

“I think it should be limited, perhaps, but I don’t shut the door on that,” he said. 

Republicans are looking to show the Supreme Court that they have a plan ready if the court rules to invalidate subsidies for around 7.5 million people in at least 34 states in the case of King v. Burwell, set for arguments on Wednesday. 

A central part of the plans unveiled this week is a proposal to provide financial assistance to people losing their subsidies so that they can temporarily keep their ObamaCare plans and avoid disruption. 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), 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.) and 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.), as well as Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), have proposed versions of that idea. 

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) was a leader in the 2013 effort to defund ObamaCare, but he is interested in the extension idea.

He and other lawmakers recently met with Sasse. “We’re in the process of evaluating it, but I love that forward thinking, [making] sure we have a plan and he’s doing a good job of that,” Meadows said of Sasse.

Asked if it would be politically difficult to pass Sasse’s proposed extension of plans, Meadows said “No, I think the compassionate way, you have to deal with the reality.”

“That’s why the implementation on October 1 of 2013 was so critical, and I said a number of times then, once it gets in place, it’s very difficult to take those subsidies away, and we just need to make sure that they have healthcare coverage,” he added.

A group of House committee chairmen, including Ways and Means Chairman 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.), unveiled their own plan on Monday night. It would give states the ability to opt-out of ObamaCare’s mandates to buy insurance and provide tax credits to help people afford coverage. It makes no mention of the temporary assistance in the Senate plans. 

It's silent on that question right now,” said Ways and Means Committee spokesman Brendan Buck.

Still, not all Republicans are open to the idea. 

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a possible Republican presidential candidate, wrote in an op-ed in National Review Tuesday morning that the extension of plans would only make the law “more entrenched.”

"Some on the right want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," he wrote.