A day after House Speaker John Boehner said lawmakers would work on an Obamacare alternative this week, Republicans will do just that in a Wednesday afternoon meeting as they await a Supreme Court ruling that could potentially nullify the healthcare law.
According to Politico
, the closed-door House meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the Capitol.
"This will be a discussion on the progress the working group and leadership have made on a response plan," Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, told Politico.
"You should not expect a final plan to be released today."
Republican leaders said this week that they have a plan ready and waiting
in the wings should the Supreme Court rule in favor of the plaintiffs in the case of King v. Burwell, which claims a four-word phrase in the Affordable Care Act could erase subsidies given to 6.4 million Americans
in at least 34 states.
Depending on the outcome, the Supreme Court ruling could collapse the law.
Politico reports that Boehner met with Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, John Cornyn of Texas, John Thune of South Dakota and others on Tuesday regarding Obamacare alternatives.
"We do have a number of contingency plans to make sure we protect the people who would be hurt if Obamacare is struck down yet again by the Supreme Court," Cornyn told Politico.
It was reported Wednesday morning that the White House does not have a backup plan
if the Supreme Court strikes down either a portion of the healthcare law or the entire thing.
On Tuesday, Boehner confirmed lawmakers on Capitol Hill are on top of it.
"We're moving forward on legislation to bring reform and innovation to our health care system," Boehner said in a statement. "Obamacare is fundamentally broken. Americans can't afford it, and so the House is going to take action this week on solutions that will lower costs and expand access to quality health care."
Earlier this month, meanwhile, Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy
of Louisiana blasted the White House for putting millions of Americans at risk of losing their health insurance by not having a contingency plan based on the Supreme Court's decision.
"If the court rules [in favor of the plaintiffs], 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," said Cassidy, a physician. "To do so is the height of irresponsibility."
Cassidy authored an Obamacare alternative called the Patient Freedom Act.
Subsidies for Obamacare are at the center of the Supreme Court case. A report Tuesday by the Office of Inspector General
claimed the government cannot verify the accuracy of subsidy payments for a four-month stretch last year.
Further, the IRS said last week it is not able to verify who actually qualifies
for subsidies because a required form won't be ready until next year.
Insurance companies are reportedly mulling double-digit rate increases
next year for plans under Obamacare.
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