Report: GOP might keep parts of ObamaCare if law is struck down

The sourcing on this one is awfully thin, which raises two possibilities. One: The details are exaggerated or outright made up to try to start a firestorm among ObamaCare-hating conservatives. Two: The details are spot-on and are being deliberately leaked to see how ObamaCare-hating conservatives react. Can some parts of this thing be preserved or must the stench of The One’s greatest victory be completely expunged before Congress takes another run at health care?

If the law is upheld, Republicans will take to the floor to tear out its most controversial pieces, such as the individual mandate and requirements that employers provide insurance or face fines.

If the law is partially or fully overturned they’ll draw up bills to keep the popular, consumer-friendly portions in place — like allowing adult children to remain on parents’ health care plans until age 26, and forcing insurance companies to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Ripping these provisions from law is too politically risky, Republicans say…

Then on Wednesday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) gave the entire House Republican Conference a preview of where the party is heading. His message: “When the court rules, we’ll be ready.”

But Boehner warned that they’ll relegislate the issue in smaller, bite sizes, rather than putting together an unwieldy new health care bill.

“If all or part of the law is struck down, we are not going to repeat the Democrats’ mistakes,” Boehner said, according to several sources present. “We have better ideas on health care — lots of them. We have solutions, of course, for patients with pre-existing conditions and other challenges.”

Reminds me of the furor back in November 2010 when The Hill claimed Eric Cantor wanted to keep parts of ObamaCare after getting rid of the mandate. They corrected their story later that same day to say that in fact Cantor wanted to get rid of the whole law but that the GOP would come up with its own way to pay for the more popular policies introduced in the bill, like the coverage guarantee for people with preexisting conditions. I think that’s the upshot of Politico’s story. You can’t really keep parts of ObamaCare’s framework intact without the mandate; the whole point of the conservative severability argument is that the mandate is the payment mechanism for all the goodies in the bill such that if the former goes the latter have to go with it. What you could do instead is come up with a smaller bill or bills that would reintroduce some of those provisions but in an entirely new payment framework. Which, it seems, is what the GOP’s thinking of doing:

DeMint — a power broker on the right — said the public opposes Obama’s healthcare law in part because of the messy process through which it passed. He wants conservatives to take an incremental approach that keeps the focus on individual policies.

“We have a number of simple, common-sense solutions, including allowing folks to buy health plans in other states, giving tax equity to those who don’t get healthcare from their employer, expanding health savings accounts, and state pools for those with pre-existing conditions,” DeMint said.

“These can be passed in a step-by-step process that would allow Americans to digest each new reform and build trust that each of these ideas stand on their own and will improve quality and lower costs.”

But then there’s this:

Representative Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon who heads the House Republican Policy Committee, said stopgap legislation could be crafted for 2012 if the court ended health insurance safeguards for young adults and children with pre-existing medical conditions.

“That would present a significant void and vacuum in health policy,” Price said. “There will be a need to have some things to fill that vacuum.”

I’m not too worried about that stopgap legislation somehow drifting into permanence through congressional neglect just because, as I say, they’d need to find a payment mechanism for it sooner rather than later. But if you’re looking for a way in which pieces of O-Care might actually be preserved, that’s it.

There’s bound to be more on this from the GOP leadership tomorrow so stay tuned. While we wait, enjoy this memo obtained by BuzzFeed from a leftist group about the various health-care theatrics they’re planning around next month’s Supreme Court ruling. Can’t wait to see what they have in mind for “hospital emergency rooms.”

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Jazz Shaw 5:31 PM on February 04, 2023