One of the key reasons Republican leaders have held back on committing to an Obamacare repeal is because they want to see how the Supreme Court rules in King v. Burwell, which seeks to invalidate tax subsidies obtained through federal exchanges. Millions of people now depend on those subsidies to afford health care under the law, and Republicans could be blamed if the high court strikes them down and the party doesn’t offer a replacement.
So GOP leaders are eyeing reconciliation as a way to approve a potential “fix” for Obamacare should the need arise. Some Republicans think it could give the GOP a golden opportunity to force Obama’s hand: When he finds himself in a jam, with millions stranded over health care, they hope he could be forced to accept a GOP alternative that helps those individuals.
But some conservatives want no part of what they view as an attempt to rescue the law.
“Save Obamacare?” an exasperated Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said when asked his opinion of a King v. Burwell fix. The Freedom Caucus member voted against the House budget because of what he called a “weak” commitment to repealing the Affordable Care Act. “I don’t know why we would save Obamacare. … I’m worried about stopping Obamacare. Fixing it?”