On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reaffirmed the House Republican caucus' commitment to repealing the entire federal health reform law if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to uphold all or part of the law next month, Politico reports (Sherman, Politico, 5/17).
House Republicans reportedly have begun preparing for the Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on the constitutionality of the federal health reform law. On Tuesday, the House Republican leadership in a small closed meeting discussed "major options," and on Wednesday Boehner told rank-and-file members, "When the court rules, we'll be ready."
Several individuals familiar with the meetings said that if the overhaul is upheld, GOP leaders plan to continue efforts to remove provisions including the individual mandate and requirements that employers provide coverage or face penalties. If the law is partially or fully repealed, Republicans plan to offer bills to keep popular provisions in place, such as allowing adult children to remain on their parents' health plans until age 26 and providing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions (California Healthline, 5/17).
GOP In-Fighting Over Health Reform
Within hours of his meeting with House Republicans on Wednesday, a group of Republican leadership staffers, health policy staffers and conservative activists "blasted" Boehner over plans to retain popular provisions of the overhaul, Politico reports.
According to Politico, the group created a private Google email group called "The Repeal Coalition" in which they expressed concern about a shift in the GOP leadership's approach to handling the health reform law after the Supreme Court issues its ruling.
Wesley Denton, an aide to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), wrote, "Should we change the name of this [listserv] to 'partialrepealcoalition' or 'someofobamacareisprettygood'?" In a separate exchange, Russ Vought -- a former House Republican staffer, who now works at Heritage Action for America -- wrote that the "House GOP is going to cave after winning an election on full repeal ... and before winning the next election to finish the job." He added, "Unreal."
According to Politico, the "behind-the-scenes fight ... richly illustrates why House GOP leadership is so cautious, sensitive and calculating when it comes to dealing with the conservative right" (Politico, 5/17).
Boehner Clarifies GOP Stance; King Echoes Call for Full Repeal
In a blog post on Thursday, Boehner said that "[a]nything short of [a full repeal of the health reform law] is unacceptable" (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 5/17).
He noted, "[House Republicans] voted to fully repeal the president's health care law as one of our first acts as a new House majority, and our plan remains to repeal the law in its entirety." He added that the only way to boost the troubled economy is a full repeal of the law (National Journal, 5/17).
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) -- a leading House Republican critic of the law -- on Thursday echoed Boehner's call for a full repeal of the law. In comments during an appearance on C-SPAN, King expressed concern "that there might be some people in the House [who] would repeal what they might call the most egregious aspects of ObamaCare, [but] leave some of those aspects that seem to have some support," adding, "My position is very strong -- I will fight that. I want all of it pulled out by the roots" ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 5/17).