Republicans have been trying to overturn President Barack Obama's signature healthcare legislation for the past five years, but are likely to start offering specifics this year, Politico
That's not only because the GOP will have majorities in both houses of Congress starting Tuesday, but also because a pending Supreme Court decision is hastening their action.
Justices in March are set to hear King v. Burwell, which is described as the most serious challenge yet to the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. Should the justices rule against the ACA, people who receive subsidies in all but the 13 states that are running their own health exchanges would be dropped, cutting a major part of the law's funding.
Because of a glitch in the way the law was written, ACA opponents argue that subsidies cannot be paid to people who live in states where the health exchanges are run by the federal government.
But while a ruling against the White House would be a victory for opponents, including Republicans, it also could hurt the GOP in the 2016 presidential elections if it takes the blame for premium increases or loss of subsidies that would likely occur.
That's why Republicans in Congress are working on their own alternatives now. Politico says Republicans sense that if they present their own plans now, the Supreme Court might be more amenable to ruling in their favor since such a ruling would be less likely to throw the system into chaos.
"What the King case does is gives us an opportunity and a reason to come to a consensus sooner so, when we get the ruling of the Supreme Court in June, we are then prepared to say, 'Here is what is better for the American people in terms of affordability, quality and choice,'" Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, told Politico.
The GOP-led House has voted to repeal Obamacare dozens of times, but those bills never came up for consideration in the Senate controlled by Democrat Harry Reid. Republicans still would need six Democrats to vote with them for a supermajority, and even then they wouldn't have the votes to overturn a certain Obama veto.
But a favorable Supreme Court ruling could give them leverage, since Obama might feel the need to make some sort of compromise to bolster his weakened law. Alternatively, he could cast blame on Republicans for any problems the ruling caused.
Areas where Republicans are hoping for compromise include repeal of the medical device tax, overturning of the individual mandate and changing the definition of a full work week back to 40 hours.
Some Democrats agree on the medical device tax, but Obama has long signaled that the individual mandate is vital to funding the ACA.
Republicans also are floating the "Hire More Heroes Act," CBS News reports. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gop-to-target-obamacare-regulations-when-new-congress-begins/ That bill would allow for small businesses to hire post-9/11 veterans without counting them toward their 50-employee limit above which they would have to provide health insurance.
Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois touted the bill in Saturday's GOP radio address. He said the bill would help returning veterans who are facing a higher unemployment rate in an already sluggish economy.
Democrats, meanwhile, are hoping to push back by finding people who have benefitted from the ACA and having them tell their stories.
"We’ve got to go out and build coalitions all across the country to defend the gains," Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, told Politico. "We now have millions of people who have something to lose by repeal. We’ve got to do a better job of organizing those groups to come up to Congress and be actively opposing repeal."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.