Congressional Republicans repeatedly have vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare, but so far they've voted only on the first part.
They'll do it again this week when the House once more votes to repeal the healthcare reform law. This time, though, House Republicans insist they'll follow up by proposing an alternative healthcare bill. The replacement effort will be led by Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, and Education and Workforce Chairman John Kline.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy cited the potential for the Supreme Court to strike down premium subsidies as part of the impetus for drafting an alternative plan. “We're going to keep working to protect hardworking taxpayers from the fallout of Obamacare and move toward the ultimate goal of a patient-centered system,” he said in a written statement.
Reaching consensus among Republicans on a replacement package is certain to prove difficult. They remain divided between those who want to offer a bill including tax credits for premiums and those who want far less government involvement and federal spending. “At this stage there isn't consensus. They're not there yet,” said Chris Condeluci, a former top GOP staffer on the Senate Finance Committee.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans this week will take their first run through the president's proposed budget, scheduled for release Feb. 2. The Finance Committee has three hearings set to assess the president's recommendations. The panel's GOP members are not likely to look kindly on the proposal, which seeks to boost spending by roughly 7% over the current fiscal year.