Congressional Republicans are inching closer to a consensus about how their party would respond if the Supreme Court invalidates Obamacare's financial aid in 30-plus states in the coming weeks—but they aren't quite there yet.
House leaders presented a plan to their conference Wednesday, though aides and lawmakers emphasized that it is still a work in progress. The proposal, as described by GOP aides and members, would:
- Continue the Affordable Care Act's subsidies through the end of 2015, absent a Court stay of its decision that did the same.
- Immediately repeal the individual and employer mandates.
- Starting in 2016, states would be allowed to opt out of the law and its other various regulations. States would receive a block grant, the same amount as the subsidies that their residents would receive, to implement their own health care plans.
- In states that don't opt out, individuals would continue to receive subsidies but could use them to purchase plans on and off of the ACA exchanges.
- The plan would sunset in 2017, compelling a new Congress and president to come up with a comprehensive Obamacare replacement.
Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan outlined the plan during the closed-door discussion, members said, but he declined to discuss it in detail afterward. "We will customize it when we get the ruling itself," he said.
The Supreme Court case, King v. Burwell, is brought by conservative opponents of the law and challenges the legality of subsidies offered on federal exchanges, which operate in more than 30 states and through which more than 6 million people receive the law's financial assistance.