GOP promises to rid nation of healthcare law

Republicans are using their weekly radio address to reiterate their promise to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law.

The address is timed for this week’s decision by the Supreme Court, which is set to announce its ruling on the controversial law as early as Monday.

The justices could uphold the law, they could throw it out, or they could throw out the mandate that consumers buy health insurance but leave the rest of the law standing.

Many expect the ruling to at least go against the mandate — a survey of former Supreme Court clerks and attorneys who have argued before the court this week found 57 percent believe the mandate will be struck down.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerA time for war, a time for peace — and always a time to defend America Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Soleimani killing deepens distrust between Trump, Democrats MORE (R-Ohio) this week reiterated his pledge that the whole law will be repealed by House Republicans if the High Court does not rule the law is unconstitutional. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) repeated that message in his address.

“Not only is President Obama’s health care law not working – it makes things worse by driving up health care costs, making it harder for small businesses to hire workers,” Cassidy said. “The only way to change this is by repealing ObamaCare entirely.

“So, unless the Court throws out the entire law, we should repeal what is left and implement common-sense, step-by-step reforms that protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at the lowest cost,” he said.

One difficult issue for Republicans is that if the court does just strike down the mandate, repealing the rest of the law would eliminate some provisions that are popular, such as a provision requiring insurers to allow parents to keep their children on their insurance through the age of 26. Cassidy handled this issue by stressing that Republicans “would not repeat Democrats’ mistakes.” He said the party would not rush through a law to replace the existing healthcare law, and that the party would instead stay focused on jobs and the economy.

Republicans have repeatedly used members of the House and Senate who, like Cassidy, are practicing physicians to make the case against the law.

“I have practiced medicine for nearly three decades primarily treating the uninsured … I still see patients almost weekly,” Cassidy said. “Good health care starts in a doctor’s office, not a Washington backroom.”

Cassidy said the cost of healthcare remains a significant problem, but offered no specific solutions in his address to deal with that problem. Instead, he said containing costs “step-by-step” and not through expanding government is the “right approach to healthcare reform.”

“Families should be able to make their own health care choices, visit the doctor of their choosing, and receive the health care they and their physician feel is best,” he said. “That means implementing patient-centered solutions that lower costs and restore Americans’ freedoms over their health care decisions.”