GOP lawmakers have a big question for President Obama about the upcoming Supreme Court case that could undo much of his signature healthcare law: What happens if we win?
Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter Wednesday to the head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), demanding the administration show its hand in case the court rules against ObamaCare this summer.
“Given HHS’s responsibilities, we believe it is prudent that the Department plan for the full range of potential outcomes and consequences of the Court’s decision,” leaders of the committee wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.
The lawmakers are seeking any and all information related to the administration's preparation — starting with "all scenarios considered or evaluated."
Both parties have acknowledged that the case, King v. Burwell, is the biggest threat to the healthcare law while Obama remains in office.
Burwell has repeatedly said she remains confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the subsidies. When asked about how the administration is preparing states for the worst-case scenario, Burwell has flatly declined to discuss the plan.
“We believe we are in a place where our argument and our position will prevail,” she told reporters in December. “What we’re focused on now is the law of the land.”
As much as $65 billion in subsidies could be at stake in the case, according to one Democratic report.
Debate on King v. Burwell came roaring back to life this week, the last chance for lawmakers and groups to file amicus briefs in the case.
The central question in the case is whether the government can legally hand out healthcare subsidies in the 34 states that have opted to use the federal marketplace instead of creating their own.
The law’s language says the subsidies can be doled out through exchanges “established by the state,” though Democrats have chalked up the issue to a drafting error, saying it was clear that they intended for the subsidies to be distributed to people in all 50 states.
Joining the chorus of support for the subsidies, Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), who helped author the law, took part in a press conference Wednesday to say there was no need for "anything to be fixed" in the law.