Republicans in Congress have repeatedly promised they will have a plan if the Supreme Court rules that an estimated 6.4 million Americans can’t get health insurance subsidies from the federal government.
Though the GOP has not reached a consensus – and few if any details are discussed in public – there is plenty of activity behind the scenes, as disparate groups in the House and Senate work to at least unify around an opening bid.
Many of the “just-in-case” plans for a Supreme Court ruling against the Obama administration focus on how replacement subsidies should be structured so people don’t end up owing insurers hundreds of dollars. The court’s decision on the case, King vs. Burwell, is expected around the end of the month.
But there’s another potential plan that’s getting serious consideration on Capitol Hill, according to multiple GOP sources. It is designed, in part, to carry along reluctant Republicans who want a repeal of Obamacare and nothing more. Mirrored off of CHIP, a popular federal health insurance program for children, the plan would largely end the federal government’s role as an insurance regulator and give that power back to the states—along with a chunk of money to spend as they see fit on insurance coverage.
It’s unclear if the proposal will make it into a final bill. Senior lawmakers are rumored to have sent early packages to the Congressional Budget Office for initial scoring, but leaders in the House and Senate have said they won’t reveal any plans until after the court issues its ruling.
“We’re certainly going to have a plan for our view of what needs to be done to protect the American people in the wake of this really terrible bill,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in an interview with Morning Consult on Thursday.