Congressional GOP Plans To Continue Health Law Subsidies

WASHINGTON (AP) -

Congressional Republicans will move to temporarily continue health care subsidies for millions of people if the Supreme Court overturns the aid, according to plans discussed in the House and Senate Wednesday.

Republicans on both sides of the Capitol met privately to discuss how to respond to the politically explosive ruling that’s expected in the next two weeks and could result in some seven million people losing subsidies to buy coverage under President Barack Obama’s contested health care law.

Under the plan presented by a quartet of committee chairman to House Republicans and described by several lawmakers, subsidies would continue for the remainder of this calendar year. After that, states could obtain block grants to continue the aid; if a state turns down the block grant, individuals could receive tax subsidies directly as they do now.

The money would be used to shop for health insurance in a reordered marketplace without requirements for most people to carry insurance and most employers to offer it. The plan would be temporary, although how long exactly it would last was unclear.

After that, the law Republicans call “Obamacare” would be eliminated altogether and replaced with a new approach.

The approach carries political risks for the GOP. In the House, Republicans have voted more than 50 times to repeal all or portions of the health care law and could now be accused of moving to extend it leading into a presidential election year.