Republicans have made good on their promise to try to repeal Obama’s healthcare law, but the “replace” part of their “repeal and replace” strategy has proved more difficult. Pitts said Republicans will be ready for the opening a Supreme Court ruling will provide — no matter what the justices decide.
If the court strikes down the law’s individual mandate, or the entire law, the GOP can present its plan as an alternative. If the court upholds the mandate, renewed attention to the issue could still give Republicans an election-season opening to argue that they have a concrete agenda on healthcare.
“We’ll have a window of opportunity with everyone looking to explain that the Affordable Care Act is not fully implemented yet. … We’ll use that opportunity and that window to discuss the full ramifications of the Affordable Care Act,” Pitts said.
Pitts, who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health subcommittee, said he does not expect the court to strike down the entire law — just the mandate.
The Republican plan will not preserve one of Obama’s most politically popular reforms: the requirement that insurers cover people who have pre-existing conditions. Some Republicans have said in the past that it would be difficult to walk away from that provision. But Pitts said the GOP will instead propose state-based pools in which the government would take over the cost of the sickest, most expensive patients, rather than requiring private insurers to cover them.
The rest of the plan Pitts outlined draws from long-standing GOP priorities. It will include limits on medical malpractice suits and allow the sale of insurance across state lines, Pitts said, while also expanding the use of health savings accounts.