ObamaCare subsidies question splinters GOP

ObamaCare subsidies question splinters GOP

About one month before the Supreme Court’s ruling on ObamaCare subsidies, Republican lawmakers are all over the map about what to do about the millions of people who could lose them.

Republicans have widely agreed they need a plan if the high court strikes down a subsidies next month. But the GOP does not agree about how to help people who’d lose access to healthcare — and even whether to help them at all.

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There are more than half a dozen plans floating around, with varying degrees of details.  While many lawmakers have said there is a “great deal of consensus” within the party, some of the proposals are sharply different from each other.

“There is one view that Congress can leave the subsidies in place for a short period of time until there are alternative solutions available,” Rep. Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresGOP revolts multiply against retiring Ryan Republicans express doubts that Ryan can stay on as Speaker McCarthy says early leadership election to replace Ryan unlikely MORE (R-Texas), chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said in a recent interview.

“There's another view that says, ‘Look, this problem was created by the way the Democrats wrote the law. Why should Republicans suddenly wind up with ownership over that problem?’”

The stakes are high: A ruling against the healthcare law could strip federal aid from an estimated 7.5 million people ahead of the 2016 elections, and people in red states would be hit particularly hard.

Leading proposals

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Continued efforts to pass 'right to try' legislation should fail GOP, Dem lawmakers come together for McCain documentary MORE (R-Wis.): Introduced a bill to let people keep their ObamaCare subsidies until 2017, when he hopes a Republican president will be in office. The plan also repeals ObamaCare’s individual and employer mandates.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.): Introduced a bill to create a new system of tax credits. Sasse has sharply contrasted his plan with Johnson’s and said he opposes extending ObamaCare subsidies because he doesn’t support doing “anything to fix ObamaCare in Congress.”

Reps. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHillicon Valley: Mnuchin urges antitrust review of tech | Progressives want to break up Facebook | Classified election security briefing set for Tuesday | Tech CEOs face pressure to appear before Congress Feehery: An opening to repair our broken immigration system GOP chairman in talks with 'big pharma' on moving drug pricing bill MORE (R-Wis.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and John Kline (R-Minn.): The plan put forth by the trio of chairmen serving as leaders of the House’s working group provides a “refundable,” “advanceable,” age-adjusted tax credit, while allowing states to opt-out of ObamaCare’s mandates, according to an op-ed from March. They have so far declined to provide details on the tax credits, such as how they would be paid for.

Sens. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Watchdog to probe EPA email preservation Overnight Energy: EPA moves to roll back chemical plant safety rule | NASA chief says humans contribute to climate change | Pruitt gets outside lawyer MORE (R-Wyo.), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchCorker turns downs Trump's offer to be ambassador to Australia Democrats urge colleagues to oppose prison reform bill The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate MORE (R-Utah), and Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA GOP lawmakers want Trump to stop bashing Congress The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by CVS Health - A pivotal day for House Republicans on immigration MORE (R-Tenn.):  The leaders of the Senate’s working group have endorsed “transitional” financial assistance, but have not said whether it will be an extension of ObamaCare subsidies. “I think you can define it how you want, but we want to make sure those people are protected as we transition away from the healthcare law,” Barrasso said.

Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSenate confirms Haspel to head CIA The Hill's Morning Report: Mueller probe hits one-year mark Divisions deepen as Mueller probe hits one year MORE (R-N.C.), Hatch, Upton: Introduced an ObamaCare replacement plan that would create “targeted tax credits” based on age and family size to help people buy private insurance or fund a health savings account. The plan does not specifically address the court’s ruling.

Presidential candidates:

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio: Kaepernick deserves to be in the NFL Congress — when considering women’s health, don’t forget about lung cancer Anti-Maduro Venezuelans not unlike anti-Castro Cubans of yore MORE (R-Fla.): Has outlined his own plan in an op-ed. It includes tax credits and high risk-pools, as well as the controversial Paul Ryan-style idea of a voucher-like system for Medicare. He does not include a provision for temporary assistance.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenators near deal on sexual harassment policy change Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Five Republican run-offs to watch in Texas MORE (R-Texas): Has also put forward his own plan, which would repeal ObamaCare’s subsidies and mandates, and allow people to buy insurance across state lines. He does not include a provision for temporary assistance. Spokesman Rick Tyler said Friday that Cruz will wait for the court’s decision to decide on the temporary assistance.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSarah Sanders: ‘Democrats are losing their war against women in the Trump administration’ Kentucky Dems look to vault themselves in deep-red district Overnight Defense: Senate confirms Haspel as CIA chief | Trump offers Kim 'protections' if he gives up nukes | Dem amendments target Trump military parade MORE (R-Ky.): Has not taken a position on a back-up plan or temporary assistance. Spokeswoman Jillian Lane on Friday declined to comment but said, “I’m sure the Senator will weigh in on this issue in the near future.”

Other key lawmakers:

Rep. Tom Price: Against continuing subsidies, but has put forward a full alternative including tax credits and high-risk pools. “I don’t think that I would be able to be supportive of continuing the subsidies beyond what the court would allow,” he said.

Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas): Working on a Republican Study Committee ObamaCare alternative. Flores is undecided on continuing subsidies. “I’m not saying there should absolutely not be a bridge, I’m not saying there should absolutely be a bridge.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy: Supports a temporary extension of ObamaCare subsidies until GOP can permanently replace the law. Cassiday has drafted a bill that maps out that permanent replacement, which he says would work in tandem with the GOP’s more immediate plan.

Leadership:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators near deal on sexual harassment policy change Blankenship third-party bid worries Senate GOP Overnight Finance: Trump signs repeal of auto-loan policy | Justices uphold contracts that bar employee class-action suits | US, China trade war 'on hold' MORE: Supports competing plans from Johnson and Sasse, though his spokesman said the leader is still “reviewing other proposals.” His office declined to comment about his position on extending subsidies, saying, “No matter what the court does, Republicans will work to protect Americans harmed by ObamaCare’s broken promises.”

House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerGOP revolts multiply against retiring Ryan Can Jim Jordan become top House Republican? Tensions on immigration erupt in the House GOP MORE: Has said nothing about his preferred plans, deferring to working group members. A spokesperson declined to comment further on Friday.

Conservative groups:

Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth: Opposes any extension of ObamaCare.

Cato Institute: Opposes any extension of ObamaCare. Michael Cannon, one of the architects of the case known as King v. Burwell that is now before the court, said recently: "I actually think it’s a little silly for Republicans to try to put together a response [before the ruling.]"