House Republicans will be taking another stab at ObamaCare repeal when Congress returns next week from the July Fourth recess — and House conservatives have added another prong to the GOP response to last week’s Supreme Court ruling.
Included in the controversial decision was more flexibility for states to opt out of Medicaid expansion — without being assessed the penalty of losing potentially all of their federal funding for Medicaid as detailed in the Affordable Care Act.
A group of lawmakers on the right have sent a letter to all 50 governors asking them to opt out of ObamaCare state exchanges.
“As members of the U.S. Congress, we are dedicated to the full repeal of this government takeover of healthcare and we ask you to join us to oppose its implementation. Most importantly, we encourage you to oppose any creation of a state health care exchange mandated under the President’s discredited health care law,” says the letter, which was circulated by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
Twelve senators and 61 members of the House signed on to the letter, as well.
Jordan, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee caucus, told PJM this afternoon that the Supreme Court ruling was “surprising, disappointing,” but has given lawmakers a new platform for the market-based healthcare solutions they’ve been pushing all along.
“Ultimately, the real decision is going to get made in November by the citizens of America,” Jordan said. “It’s just the great system we have. That’s appropriate. That’s who we are as a country, who we are as a system.”
The RSC had prepped for last week’s ruling with the release two days beforehand of a 27-page list of more than 200 pieces of healthcare-related legislation that its members have introduced over the past 18 months, promoting solutions including tort reform, the ability to purchase across state lines, and health savings accounts.
“I did not anticipate the Supreme Court saying that the government could tell you to purchase a product and if you didn’t — you had to buy it — there was a penalty,” Jordan said. “I think even the administration was expecting a different outcome.”
Democrats were expecting the tussle over the new flexibility in Medicaid expansion, though, and launched a similar offensive to encourage governors to opt-in to ObamaCare.
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) sent a letter to Republican Gov. John Kasich urging him to implement the Medicaid expansion on the grounds that too many state residents would be left without a coverage option otherwise.
“Not only is this a matter of providing needed health services for the people of Ohio, it is also a matter of economic sustainability. Uncompensated care is a drain on our hospitals, health providers, and health care system as a whole,” Fudge said. “By expanding Medicaid, we will greatly reduce the costly problem of uninsured patients depending on emergency rooms instead of a primary care physician.”