GOP plotting response to ObamaCare SCOTUS case

House Republicans are crafting an ObamaCare backup plan in light of a Supreme Court case this summer that could strike down a key piece of the healthcare law.

The case, King v. Burwell, was a central topic at the House GOP’s closed-door healthcare meeting during its retreat in Hershey, Pa., according to an aide attending the session.

A major part of Thursday’s conversation was “moving quickly to show the country Republicans have a patient-centered response to King v. Burwell,” the aide said.

{mosads}If the Supreme Court rules against the Obama administration, 10 million people could lose their subsidies to pay for healthcare — worth as much as $65 million, according to a Democratic report. Oral arguments for the case will begin March 4.

Pressure has been building for Republicans to create ObamaCare alternatives in the case of another Supreme Court surprise, which would likely come down in June. Some within the GOP have raised concerns about the decision, with one Senate GOP aide saying recently the party lacks “any coherent response” to the case.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently described the case as his party’s best shot at an ObamaCare “do-over.”

The last major court challenge to the healthcare reform law upheld a majority of the law, but forced the administration to massively rework its strategy on expanding Medicaid. The administration has said it is confident that King v. Burwell will be dismissed and that officials are not considering other options to replace subsidies.

Thursday’s session included remarks from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

Avik Roy, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who has served as a key adviser on ObamaCare replacement plans, also spoke about the macroeconomics of healthcare.

The conversation also centered on repealing ObamaCare’s medical device tax, which has already passed a House vote and is likely to reach the Senate in the next few weeks.

Republicans also discussed how to coordinate with governors and state legislators as well as how to coordinate with Senate committees to determine areas of jurisdiction.

Healthcare was one of the three major policy conversations at the conference, alongside immigration laws and budget procedure.

—Scott Wong contributed. 

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