Republican governors lobby Congress for ObamaCare fix
Several Republican governors who are nervous about a Supreme Court ruling are asking Congress for help — even if it puts them at odds with their own party.
The case, King v. Burwell, threatens to erase ObamaCare subsidies that help people in 37 states buy health insurance on the federal government’s exchange. Most of these states have Republican governors.
Fallout from the case is creating a divide between GOP governors who could lose big because of the Supreme Court decision, and House and Senate leaders who believe the lawsuit is their best chance to gut the healthcare law before the 2016 presidential election.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said he has spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) about the issue at the National Governors Association this past weekend, according to The Washington Post.
Most governors said they can do little to preserve the subsidies, suggesting that the duty instead falls to Congress.
“That responsibility doesn’t fall in the hands of the states or the governors, it falls in the hands of the leaders right here in Washington,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told reporters.
“You’re going to hear the governors be very loud about this,” South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley told the Post.
Haley said South Carolina is already working out its own backup plan. Its legislature hopes to create state-run exchange, so hundreds of thousands of residents can continue to qualify for subsidies.
While Republicans in Congress have been quick to use King v. Burwell as another opportunity to force the Obama administration on the defense, members have not yet said how they would help states if conservatives win their case.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who is one of three GOP chairmen crafting a contingency plan, has declined to share any details.
When asked last week if the Republican Party should consider any fixes to ObamaCare to keep the subsidies, Ryan flatly said no.
The Obama administration has also repeatedly refused to discuss its backup plan for King v. Burwell.
Arguments for the Supreme Court case will begin March 4, and the decision is expected in late June.
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