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“We don’t know what the Supreme Court’s going to do, so you have to look at every different option,” McCarthy said after the meeting. “We’re going through different scenarios with what the Supreme Court could do.”
While Democrats are cautious about publicly acknowledging that the law could be struck down, it is clear they will be ready to defend it in the wake of the decision.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro indicated that if the justices invalidate the measure, House Democrats will continue to message on some of the law’s most popular parts.
“What we will have to deal with is what happens to pre-existing conditions, what happens to those young people who now have health care coverage, what happens to older Americans who now get their screenings for free?” the Connecticut Democrat said.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen said he plans to hold Republicans’ feet to the flame on their rhetoric promising a replacement.
“They told the American people that they were going to have an alternative that addressed all the issues that were dealt with as part of the earlier bill. We haven’t seen a thing,” the Maryland Democrat said.
Indeed, Republicans are anticipating public pressure to keep in place popular provisions within the law, such as coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing people up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ plan.
Options are still being discussed, but Cantor said that the House would likely move on a series of bills to address these issues rather than a comprehensive replacement before the election. The piecemeal approach could include provisions from the GOP’s 2009 health care alternative, such as allowing people to purchase health care across state lines.
“I don’t necessarily think that we would take the step of countering with a comprehensive thousands-of-pages bill like Obamacare. I don’t think that’s what the country wanted. I think that’s what scared so many people,” he said.
Still, it’s unclear what Republicans in the House have the votes to pass, especially if, for conservatives, some of those provisions too closely resemble Obama’s law.
Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price said the work will hinge on convincing Members that it is necessary to provide the country a smooth transition from what the court decides.
“There are some things that have been instituted that folks have begun to rely upon and plan, make their family plans, based on the current proposals,” the Georgian said. “We will provide a rational positive transition for any court action so the American people can see that there are folks here concerned about the consequences of the court’s action.”
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said he’d prefer that an overhaul wait until after the elections.