Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers met with other House Republicans this week ahead of the Supreme Courts decision on President Barack Obamas health care law.
The Michigan Republican left open the possibility that the House could take up small-bore health care legislation before November. He added, however, that a big concern was alleviated for many Members when major health insurers announced they would not remove those under 26 years old or people with pre-existing conditions from insurance rolls. That neutralizes a potential Democratic attack that Republicans are responsible for some people losing their coverage.
“It’s comforting to know, as a number of us reached out to the major insurers, that they’re going to try to keep everything intact for the balance of the year to allow us to examine precisely what the court does and also let the voters decide where they want to go come November,” he said.
Indeed, as the court looks at striking down one mandate — that most Americans buy insurance coverage — Republicans are hoping voters deliver another. Sweeping the elections, they say, would give them a clear directive to proceed with conservative health care reforms.
While most Members are itching to start the discussion right away, there are varied views about exactly how to proceed and whether to pass anything before the elections.
Several Members pointed to items such as tort reform and allowing Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines as measures that could be taken up immediately.
“We’ve had a year and a half to get ready for what we think will be the end result of the court decision,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.) said. “I lean toward bringing something out. I think it’s more important to show what you’re for rather than just what we’re against.”
He said he supports a measure introduced by Price that seeks to promote widespread voluntary insurance coverage though tax incentives.
Other Members have other ideas.
Rep. Paul Broun, for instance, said he is itching to tout a FreedomWorks-endorsed bill he introduced that, among other things, converts Medicare to a premium support model and allows people to opt out of the program altogether.
“We’re looking at how we can at least promote some of my bill, if not all of it,” the Georgia Republican said. “If we can do my bill piece by piece, let’s do that also ... even before the election.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.