GOP chairman: No ObamaCare extension if court cripples law

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 JohnsonLawmakers share photos of their dogs in honor of National Puppy Day GOP targets Baldwin over Wisconsin VA scandal The Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan 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 CruzHow 'Big Pharma' stifles pharmaceutical innovation AIPAC must reach out to President Trump Under pressure, Dems hold back Gorsuch support MORE (R-Texas) and Marco RubioMarco RubioSenators introduce new Iran sanctions Senate intel panel has not seen Nunes surveillance documents: lawmakers With no emerging leaders, no clear message, Democrats flounder MORE (R-Fla.), have all put forward plans. 

Sen. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoHow 'Big Pharma' stifles pharmaceutical innovation Making water infrastructure a priority Overnight Energy: Trump's Keystone XL approval coming soon MORE (R-Wyo.) is leading a working group with other chairmen to come up with a Senate plan. 

While Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellThe Memo: Winners and losers from the battle over health care GOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Under pressure, Dems hold back Gorsuch support 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 RyanPence: Trump 'won't rest' until ObamaCare repealed Hannity: Healthcare bill 'not President Trump's failure' Trump, GOP look to tax bill for lifeline 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 FloresTrump warns Republicans ahead of healthcare vote The Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan Conservative chairman faces blowback over ObamaCare statement MORE (R-Texas) said last month that he had not yet decided whether to support a temporary extension of ObamaCare subsidies.