The GOP’s King v. Burwell “Fix”

Sen. Ron Johnson’s bill includes the same failed conservative proposals to repeal the ACA

Sen. Ron Johnson’s Bill Includes The Same Failed Conservative Proposals to Repeal The ACA

Before the end of the month, the Supreme Court will rule on King v. Burwell, a case you may have heard us talk about before. In the weeks leading up to the decision there have been many news stories about Republicans in Congress trying to come up with a way to escape political backlash if the court strips tax credits away from 6.4 million Americans. In light of their predicament, Senate Republicans have touted Sen. Ron Johnson’s health care bill as a compromise. While Johnson’s bill would extend tax credits for current enrollees through 2017, it includes many of the same tired proposals aimed at dismantling the Affordable Care Act that House Republicans have been voting on (unsuccessfully) for the last 5 years. For a detailed description of Johnson’s bill, check out CAP Action’s fact sheet. Here are the basics:

What the bill would do: Extend tax credits for existing enrollees through 2017.
Number of times the GOP has tried this: 0

This is the piece of the bill that has allowed for the whole thing to be marketed as a compromise. But the tax credit extension is limited to current enrollees—even in the state-based marketplaces that would otherwise be unaffected by the case. Preventing future enrollees from receiving premium tax credits would significantly curtail future enrollment in every state and reduce current enrollment over time, partially undoing the drop in uninsured that was made possible by the premium tax credits.

What the bill would do: Repeal the federal essential health benefits plans are required to cover.
Number of times the GOP has tried this: 1

This would increase the number of people who are underinsured, worsening access to services like maternity care that were often excluded from insurance plans before the ACA.

What the bill would do: Undermine the ACA’s consumer protections.
Number of times the GOP has tried this: 2

Some pre-existing plans that don’t meet the ACA’s standards were grandfathered in to minimize disruption for enrollees. The Johnson bill would expand this provision, creating a huge loophole for many of the law’s consumer protections, including discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions.

What the bill would do: Repeal the employer mandate.
Number of times the GOP has tried this: 3

The mandate that requires employers of 50 or more workers to provide insurance to their employees has not even gone into full effect, but that hasn’t stopped conservatives in Congress from attacking it.

What the bill would do: Repeal the Individual mandate.
Number of times the GOP has tried this: 6

Repealing the individual mandate would cause a large drop in the number of young and healthy people who enroll or stay enrolled in the future, driving up premium costs and creating a death spiral in the individual market.

While Johnson’s bill doesn’t explicitly call for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, repealing these essential pillars of the law would render it ineffective. And for the record, when you combine these votes with the 13 times House Republicans have voted to repeal or defund the entire Affordable Care Act, including these provisions, that makes 25 times that House Republicans have already voted on the Johnson bill’s failed repeal proposals. Overall, they have tried to undermine the law more than 50 times. The result of Johnson’s bill would be an increase in the uninsured rate, higher costs in the individual market, and weakened consumer protections.

BOTTOM LINE: Instead of coming up with a serious proposal to fix the chaos that could come out of a ruling against the ACA, congressional Republicans are attempting to use the chaos for their own political gain by repackaging their old, damaging proposals under the guise of compromise.

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