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Anticipating SCOTUS Rejection of Dems' Health Insurance, GOP Promises Plan

Ernie Shannon's picture

Only two months away from the U.S. Supreme Court’s three-day hearing of the nation’s new health care law - the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - House Republicans are preparing for what they expect to be a high court decision to strike down the law. And if that happens, they plan to submit a health care policy to replace it.

Pennsylvania Representative Joe Pitts, R-PA., said his party will be ready with a plan of their own should the Supreme Court rule the new health care law unconstitutional. Pitts chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee and said Republicans have been working on such a bill to seize the opportunity if President Barrack Obama’s plan is overturned.

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“We will be ready to respond to the Supreme Court decision, which is expected in June, with a replacement package,” Pitts said. In speaking with reporters this week, Pitts said that while he expects the mandate portion of the bill to be struck down, he thinks the overall structure will remain in pace. Pitts left the impression that even if the Court leaves most of the law intact, Republicans will take advantage of the opening to advance their own plan
The last time House Republicans presented an alternative to major health care reform was in 2009 when then-minority leader John Boehner said the overhaul would focus on Medicare and the State Children’s Insurance Program. The four-page Republican health care outline set out a plan that would have allowed states, associations, and small businesses to pool together to offer health insurance. It provided tax credits to low and modest income Americans to help them buy health insurance. It also let dependents under twenty-five stay on their parent's health insurance.

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the top Republican on the House tax-writing committee, said at the time that provision alone would "cover seven million people in America."

However, given the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives in 2009, the Republican measure never made it the floor for a vote and the Obama administration eventually achieved passage of the Affordable Care Act in March of 2010. While no details regarding GOP plans are available, it is expected the Republican plan would follow the same guidelines as in 2009 with an overhaul that is market-based rather than founded on federal agency administration. Pitts also suggested that the proposed plan would likely include giving tax breaks for health insurance to employees rather than to employers, medical liability reform, creating high-risk medical pools, and allowing insurers to sell their products across state lines.