OVERNIGHT HEALTHCARE: GOP chairman won't back extending ObamaCare subsidies

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) said Thursday that he does not support an idea backed by Senate Republican leadership to temporarily extend ObamaCare subsidies if the Supreme Court cripples the law. 

"I don't think that I would be able to be supportive of continuing the subsidies beyond what the Court would allow," Price told The Hill. 

A plan from Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold Johnson15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party Republicans fret over divisive candidates MORE (R-Wis.) to continue the subsidies until 2017 has been co-sponsored by Senate Republican leaders. Price is one of the most prominent Republicans to come out against the idea. 


The idea behind the temporary continuation is that if the Supreme Court invalidates subsidies for around 7.5 million people in the case of King v. Burwell, the party does not want people to immediately lose their insurance. The extension is intended to give time for a Republican alternative to be put in place. 

But Price wants to move sooner to a full Republican alternative instead of going to a temporary bridge first. 

On Wednesday, he reintroduced his Empowering Patients First Act, a plan he has also put forward in previous sessions of Congress. The bill would repeal ObamaCare and replace it with refundable, age-adjusted tax credits for buying insurance. It would give grants for high-risk pools as an insurance option for people with pre-existing conditions. Read more here

CASSIDY WORKING ON GOP PLAN, PART TWO: Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) plans to introduce a bill called the Patient Freedom Act in late May, which is meant to serve as "part-two" of the GOP's response to the looming court case, King v. Burwell.

Cassidy's plan – which would let states opt out of ObamaCare mandates and instead receive tax credits for health savings accounts – would work in tandem with the GOP's more immediate response in case the court rules against ObamaCare.

"It's separate but complementary," Robb Walton, who serves as the senator's senior health policy adviser, said in an interview Thursday. Read more here.

SENATE PANEL LAUNCHES PROBE INTO SUBSIDIES: Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanHow to save the Amazon rainforest Biden to offer 22K additional guest worker visas, 6K targeted toward Northern Triangle GOP Rep. Steve Stivers plans to retire MORE (R-Ohio) is demanding proof that the Obama administration has been thoroughly checking a person's income level and legal status before handing out subsidies.

In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, Portman demanded documents related to federal and state verification processes and sent two pages of questions, which he said officials have previously ignored.

Nearly all people who received tax credits will either owe or receive money because of a change in income or family status after they calculated their ObamaCare subsidies, according to a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Read more here

BUSINESSES TRYING TO AVOID 'CADILLAC' TAX: Nearly two-thirds of companies facing a new ObamaCare tax say they are changing their coverage to avoid the extra costs, according to a new survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Only 2.5 percent of companies that would be hit by the Cadillac tax starting in 2018 said they plan to pay the tax. A total of 62 percent of companies said they have already taken action or plan to take action to avoid it. Read more here.

Friday's schedule

The Partnership for Quality Care will hold a forum on prescription drug pricing at Kaiser Permanente. 

State by state

Hawaii governor plans to use federal exchange for ObamaCare 

Texas lawmakers want to add ObamaCare ID to insurance cards 

$3B in Medicaid funding held up in Missouri legislature  

What we're reading

HealthCare.gov contractor Optum declares its job done 

Appeals court halts contentious law on contact lens pricing 

Knee replacement surgery is most popular procedure among newly insured 

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