Skip to comments.Supreme Court ruling on healthcare law could bring trouble for Republicans
Posted on 06/13/2012 6:13:50 PM PDT by Libloather
Supreme Court ruling on healthcare law could bring trouble for Republicans
By Sam Baker - 06/13/12 05:00 AM ET
The Supreme Courts landmark healthcare ruling will pose a big test for Republicans, even if the court strikes down all or part of President Obamas healthcare law.
So far, the party has not come together around a set of policies to replace the healthcare law if its struck down entirely. Republicans also havent said how they would handle policies that are already in place, including discounts on prescription drugs for many seniors.
House Republicans will proceed with a rational, positive transition so that any disruption thats created by the court decision is mitigated, said Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who chairs the Republican Policy Committee.
The court is expected to decide this month whether the laws mandate that individuals buy insurance is constitutional and, if not, whether to throw out the entire law, or only part of it.
A ruling against the health law would certainly be a blow to Obama, and Republicans would claim that it validates their entrenched opposition to the presidents signature legislative achievement. But it would also present political and policy questions the GOP is not necessarily ready to answer.
Planning for the GOP got a little easier this week when three large insurers said they would voluntarily leave in place certain parts of the healthcare law even if the statute is struck down. UnitedHealth, Humana and Aetna said they would continue to let young people stay on their parents plans through age 26 a popular piece of the health law that Republicans had said they planned to replace.
The rest of the transition wont be as easy. Drug companies might not be able to voluntarily continue providing discounts on prescription drugs, and some items just cant be done by the private sector. Part of the law simply reauthorized existing programs, some of which had been in place for decades before the healthcare law was signed.
When asked whether the GOP would move first to replace the laws reauthorizations and other small-bore, generally agreed-upon items, Price said such speculation was premature.
Perhaps the most difficult challenge for Republicans would come from a decision striking down only the mandate, leaving the rest of the law intact. The immediate political response is clear: House Republicans will pass a bill to repeal what remains, which will go nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
As a practical matter, though, a decision striking only the mandate would lead to a policy scenario that all sides Republicans, Democrats, the insurance industry and independent policy experts see as dangerous and unsustainable.
Republicans could then face mounting pressure to walk away from their hard line against fixing the Affordable Care Act.
It puts them with a very difficult choice, one healthcare lobbyist said.
The mandate was included in healthcare reform to offset the costs of two popular provisions: requiring insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions, and barring them from charging higher prices to those consumers. Most experts agree that implementing those two provisions without the mandate would cause premiums to soar.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Tuesday that insurers should not be able to drop existing customers because of a pre-existing condition. That policy is already federal law, separate from the healthcare law. It would apply only to people who are already insured, whereas the healthcare law provides guaranteed coverage to people who have lost their insurance.
Unless Republicans pick up the White House and enough Senate seats to fully repeal the healthcare law, they could come back to Washington in 2013 facing a difficult choice: break their pledge not to fix the healthcare law, or try to repeal only the laws most popular provisions.
Clearly in 2013 theres going to have to be something done, another healthcare lobbyist said. At a certain point, theyll have to have that discussion.
Pressure to fix the healthcare law would come not only from Democrats, but also from the insurance industry.
The industrys leading trade group, Americas Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), lobbied hard for the mandate. AHIP didnt take a position on whether the mandate is constitutional, but filed a brief with the Supreme Court stressing the link between the coverage requirement and other provisions.
In the run-up to the decision, AHIP has focused its efforts on educating lawmakers and the public about the link between the mandate and other reforms, including the requirement to cover people with pre-existing conditions.
AHIP recently released white papers describing the failure of state-level efforts to ban pre-existing condition exclusions without a mandate. Kentucky and Washington state tried to pass standalone insurance reforms, only to see premiums spike. Both states eventually abandoned the regulations.
AHIP would not comment on its lobbying plans under various Supreme Court scenarios. But other stakeholders said its not hard to see insurers lobbying to replace the mandate, if the policies on pre-existing conditions cant be repealed.
Trying to strike those important provisions will be an uphill battle even for the insurance industry, said Ron Pollack, executive director of the pro-reform advocacy group Families USA.
I want the mandate struck down but not the entire law. If the Court strikes down the entire law, there will be less conservative wildfire for the GOP (up and down the ballot) in November.
Politically, the best outcome for the GOP is to strike down the mandate (and perhaps other provisions) but not the entire statute.
TROUBLE?????? HAHAHA.....that’s because this is ONLY one of the FIRST steps in kicking government out of our lives, so we can have a more economically and free country! Everything government has touched it screwed up....time for the RESET back to our Constitution!
The Constitutional Scholar going by the name of Barack Obama will be shot down having tried to force unconstitutional legislation against the will of the people. Therefore the self-proclaimed 4th best president ever will be summarily voted out of office after a single term for attempting to fundamentally transform the US of A.
Then you want what the democrats want.
If left standing the Title IX tax provisions will grow and consume everyone. It is what the democrats wanted from the beginning, a massive tax on healthcare.
It’s not just not healthcare for anyone; it’s the other stuff in the bill that the one world government wants.
The assumption is that republicans must have another complex government program in readiness to replace ObamaKare.
But the real solution is to return to free enterprise and get government and government money out of healthcare to the largest degree possible.
Because the celebration would last so long we might forget to vote?
“The Hill a bunch of leftys having a cow.”
It wasn’t the Republicans who foisted this albatross around the neck of the nation! It will have zero effect on the Republicans, other than rallying the electorate to throw out even more of the bums that voted for this turd!
Let me get this straight. 0bama and the Dems pass an unconstitutional law. It gets struck down and it is trouble for Republicans? Don’t you love lib logic?
If they throw out parts of it, even if Romney follows through on his promise to repeal the law, there may be a problem with the Senate. The Republicans' chances of getting to 60 seats are probably slim, and short of that the Democrats can filibuster.
Isn't it? everything is a problem for the Republicans,
and especially problematic if they win!
you got it! With "Lib Logic" they never lose.
Can you comprehends a health "system" where the USSC says US Government participation in it is unconstitutional.
Personally, I think the US Government should have NO ROLE....None, None at all!!! Let individuals and market do it all. It would self-organize quickly and still be a model for the world to follow.
The only “trouble” could be that some people might fear Obama a little bit less. Wouldn’t matter to me, but it might to the “middles”.