House GOP Leadership Eyeing Obamacare Fix Instead of Repeal via Reconciliation

by Joan McCarter –

boehner tongue out

Heads are going to be exploding all over in the House with a report that House Republican leadership is considering passing a pre-emptive fix to Obamacare, just in case the Supreme Court decides to strike down subsidies to people buying health insurance on the federal exchange. This is just what the ultra-far right wing of the party (as opposed to the far-far-right that composes the rest of it) has been worried about. They want repeal and repeal only, but it looks like they might lose this time, as Greg Sargent reports.

The Washington Examiner reports today that Republicans are mulling still another response to the eventual possibility that the Supreme Court might gut subsidies for millions in the federal exchange states.Specifically, they may try to pass a “contingency fix” to keep those subsidies going—but they may do so before the Court hands down its ruling in King v. Burwell. […]

[I]t’s turning out that coming up with a contingency plan is harder than expected. According to the Examiner report, Republicans are worried that, if they do offer a plan to provide millions with subsidies after the Court kills them, it will be scored by the Congressional Budget Office as hefty new government spending as measured against post-SCOTUS-ruling current law (under which the subsidies from Obamacare would no longer exist).

So Republicans might use the budget tactic known as “reconciliation” to pass a patch to the subsidies before any Court ruling, because that would not be scored as additional spending as against current law.

It’s kind of crazy, the idea of passing legislation to fix a problem before the problem actually exists. If they do it this way, they’re ready just in case the court rules the way Republicans have always wanted it to, at least how they wanted up until now when they’re faced with the very real possibility of millions of people being kicked off of insurance. But more important to them, if it’s done this way the CBO would score it compared to existing law—when federal subsidies are still flowing. That way, their CBO score for the fix won’t show more spending than what’s currently existing. If they pass this after the subsidies are struck down, the CBO would have to score it as new spending. And they sure as hell don’t want to put in the position of creating new spending for Obamacare.

But they also have to get the tea party rabble who insist that reconciliation has to be used for repeal to agree to using it to save the law. It’s that or get enough Democrats on board to pass it. They also have the problem of convincing members that they have to pass it before the court rules, so that they don’t end up being responsible for coming up with new spending for the law that they say they want to repeal.

This is what happens, sometimes, when you get what you asked for—an activist Supreme Court.

For related story read…..


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos


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