Saturday, May 16, 2015

Supreme Overestimation

Looks like the GOP plan to take Obamacare hostage in case the Supreme Court sides with them on federal exchange subsidies has run into at least one Republican willing to shoot the hostage outright.

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) said Thursday that he does not support an idea backed by Senate Republican leadership to temporarily extend ObamaCare subsidies if the Supreme Court cripples the law.

“I don’t think that I would be able to be supportive of continuing the subsidies beyond what the court would allow,” Price told The Hill.

A plan from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to continue the subsidies until 2017 has been co-sponsored by Senate Republican leaders; Price becomes one of the most prominent Republicans to come out against the idea.

The idea behind the temporary continuation is that if the Supreme Court invalidates subsidies for around 7.5 million people in the case of King v. Burwell, the party does not want people to immediately lose their insurance. The extension is intended to give time for a Republican alternative to be put in place.

But Price wants to move sooner to a full Republican alternative instead of going to a temporary bridge option first.

On Wednesday, he reintroduced his Empowering Patients First Act, a plan he has also put forward in previous sessions of Congress. The bill would repeal ObamaCare and replace it with refundable, age-adjusted tax credits for buying insurance. It would give grants for high-risk pools as an insurance option for people with pre-existing conditions.

Price's plan would be a disaster, of course, and there's no way it would even pass.  But he finally has a plan, and that may be enough to convince the Supreme Court to stop any hand-wringing over people losing insurance.  Part of me wants to say this is just a negotiating tactic, but part of me says Price is definitely a Tea Party type who will be happy to destroy Obamacare and then believes that President Obama will be blamed when millions lose insurance, and that people will line up to thank the GOP for doing so.

Among Tea Party types, that's most certainly going to be the case.

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