A Republican Senator is accusing the White House of "irresponsibility” for refusing to engage his colleagues over the possibility that the Supreme Court may rule against Obamacare this month in the crucial King vs Burwell case.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax on Monday afternoon, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R.-La) —himself a physician and author of an alternative plan known as the “Patient Freedom Act—said that “if there is a possibility of a Supreme Court ruling that could destroy the health care of eight million Americans, it is nothing short of an indictment of the system to just hope for an outcome that doesn’t do this.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told Newsmax on Friday that the White House "continues to be completely confident in the strength of the legal arguments that were presented to the Supreme Court."
Addressing the possibility that Congress will have to take action if the Court rules against Obamacare and put millions of Americans’ health insurance at risk, the President’s top spokesman said: "There's no easy fix to doing that, particularly when you consider how difficult it has been for commonsense pieces of legislation to move through the Congress.
"With something as controversial as healthcare, it's hard to imagine any sort of legislative fix passing through that legislative body."
Speaking as a physician, Cassidy told us: “We have a responsibility to our patients to do more than hope for an outcome.”
He cited the example of “a woman who is in the middle of life-saving chemotherapy treatment under a plan that already became more expensive as a result of the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] and now can’t have further treatment because the Supreme Court struck down the subsidies to that Act.
“If the court rules this way, there has to be an alternative plan. We shouldn’t just throw up our hands and say it’s hopeless to get new legislation out of Congress. To do so is the height of irresponsibility.”
The high points of Cassidy’s Patient Freedom Act, which he plans to introduce in the Senate within days, include ending all mandates, ensuring portability (keeping one's healthcare plan after moving or changing jobs), funding going directly to patients, and keeping such popular Obamacare features as permitting young people to remain on their parents' plans until age 26.
“This plan shares the goal of the Affordable Care Act—to give everybody access to coverage--but it has the additional goal of doing away with the mandates and thereby controlling cost and restoring personal freedom to the choice of health care.”
Cassidy’s measure will be offered in the House by Rep. Ralph Abraham (a fellow Louisiana Republican and physician as well).
In making the case for action on his plan, Cassidy emphasized to Newsmax that he would actively seek Democratic support. He noted that West Virginia’s Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin “has expressed support for a more affordable option for health care. He understands that health care is more expensive than it was before the Affordable Care Act became law.”
As to Earnest’s assessment that it was “hard to imagine” any fresh health care legislation coming out of Congress, Cassidy said: “I just think of what General David Petraeus said about the Iraq situation: ‘It’s hard but not hopeless.’”
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