With the Supreme Court set to rule as early as next week on the new healthcare law, the majority House Republicans are planning to force an immediate vote to repeal the measure if it is not thrown out, to reinforce their opposition to the bill.
The game plan for the House Republicans is one part of coordinated strategizing by both sides of the issue as the Supreme Court ruling approaches, The New York Times reported. The Republican National Committee, in consultation with Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and congressional campaign staffs, is putting together a war room. The National Republican Congressional Campaign has launched a petition drive for repeal.
White House officials continue to project confidence the court will rule in its favor and that the Obama administration will put the law into force. But Obama allies and supporters of the new law, officially named the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and informally referred to as Obamacare, are preparing for a possible unfavorable decision.
Proponents of the law from key battlegrounds converged on Washington this week for two days of meetings to coordinate their response with Families USA, one of the law’s chief defenders. Democratic aides on Capitol Hill are preparing a retort to force Republicans to show their hand on the issue of the uninsured.
House Democrats have been issued a “pocket card,” showing how many people the law has helped: 105 million who no longer face a lifetime cap on benefits, 86 million who have received free preventive care, and as many as 17 million children who can no longer be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, the Times said.
The health insurance industry has launched a lobbying and social media effort arguing that popular regulatory provisions in the law cannot survive if the Supreme Court strikes down the mandate that all Americans buy health insurance.
“Our focus is making people understand the inextricable link between the coverage mandate and the rest of the insurance regulations,” said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry group behind a campaign known as “The Link.”
Both sides of the issue are bracing for three contingencies: the court upholds the law, it throws out the insurance-purchasing mandate but preserves most of the law, or it throws out the entire law, the Times reported. Each side would seek to hold the other responsible in the event the law is crippled, for the popular provisions that are lost as well as for what comes next for the 46 million Americans without health insurance.
Republicans, in the event the law is eviscerated or repealed, believe they will be able to draft a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act that would maintain the most popular provisions, such as allowing adults under age 26 to remain on their parents’ health plans or ending lifetime payments caps, the Times said.
The court decision could shift momentum in the U.S. presidential race, Reuters reported.
Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors, said in a note to clients that a decision to throw out the act would "signal a renewed era of pro-business policies in support of deregulation, economic growth and the financial markets," according to Reuters. He said a decision to overturn the law was “likely.’’
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