With courts expected to strike down Obamacare, Romney leads GOP fresh effort to replace it

With the courts inching closer and closer to ruling striking down Obamacare as unconstitutional, Senate Republicans are taking steps to have legislation ready to replace the health care law.

President Barack Obama’s signature achievement is undergoing serious scrutiny following the repeal of the tax penalty for people who do not get insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate — the GOP making this happen with their 2017 tax reform bill.

If the law is deemed unconstitutional as a result of a GOP-backed lawsuit, not only will it disrupt health care coverage for millions of people, it may leave millions more with pre-existing conditions without insurance.

Coverage for pre-existing conditions is just one of the more popular components of ObamaCare that Republicans are looking to replace in a new plan, The Hill reported — a plan that would make them the authors of what they railed against for so long, that being government-run health care.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell let it be known this week the Senate would move quickly to protect people with pre-existing medical conditions if Obamacare is overturned, according to The Hill.

“I think the important thing for the public to know is there’s nobody in the Senate not in favor of covering pre-existing conditions,” McConnell said.

“We would act quickly on a bipartisan basis to restore” those protections, he added.

But The Hill noted that McConnell said earlier this year the Senate would not work on a comprehensive package to replace the Affordable Care Act before the 2020 election, arguing it would have no chance of passing Congress with Democrats controlling the House.

Citing Republican sources familiar with the situation, The Hill reported that any plan to replace ObamaCare would be more narrow than the original legislation.

It was also reported that Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is taking the lead here, which will not please conservatives. The health insurance law Romney implemented as governor of Massachusetts was seen as a template for ObamaCare.

Romney is reportedly working with Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and consulting closely with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Texas, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., chair of the Senate Judiciary committee.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., spoke about being prepared if the courts strike the current health care law — they’ve had more than a decade to offer an alternative plan.

“If there’s one thing we learned from the ObamaCare fight two years ago: We better be prepared in advance with more specificity as to what our plans our,” Capito said of the failed effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare in 2017.

If the Affordable Care Act is struck down because of the individual mandate being repealed, President Trump will have been proven correct in his remarks at the time that “Obamacare is repealed.”

Remarks that the media ridiculed him over.

The individual mandate is being repealed,” Trump told reporters in Dec. 2017. “When the individual mandate is being repealed, that means Obamacare is repealed. Because they get their money from the individual mandate. So the individual mandate is being repealed.”

Trump said at the time Obamacare would be replaced with something “much better.”

“So in this bill, not only do we have massive tax cuts and tax reform, we have essentially repealed Obamacare and will come up with something that will be much better,” he said. “Whether it’s block grants or whether it’s taking what we have and doing something terrific. But Obamacare has been repealed in this bill.

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Tom Tillison

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