- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sen. Ron Johnson added his voice Tuesday to the mounting number of Republican proposals to revamp health care in the wake of a Supreme Court decision this June that could gut Obamacare.

Mr. Johnson, of Wisconsin, said the GOP needs to be ready when the justices decide whether the administration is unlawfully paying subsidies to customers in at least 34 states that use the federal HealthCare.gov exchange.

Without the subsidies, the law will be much less attractive in those states, opening the door to Republican-led reforms.

But it would also expose the party to political attacks, as millions of Americans lose health coverage in the wake of a lawsuit that many in the GOP cheered.

In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Johnson said Republicans need to be ready to parry those attacks by rescuing Americans affected by the ruling.

“Without an effective response from Republicans, there is little doubt that the crisis would allow President Obama to permanently cement ObamaCare in place,” he wrote.

His plan would allow Americans to keep health care plans they like, and Obamacare’s subsidies would continue to flow until August 2017. While new people could enroll through the law, only existing customers would continue to receive subsidies under the senator’s plan.

“In exchange for this concession, which temporarily fixes the mess created by the sloppily written and unlawfully enforced Obamacare, the American people should be allowed to reclaim some of the freedom Obamacare denies them,” Mr. Johnson said.

That means eliminating the law’s insurance mandates on individuals and employers, he said.

The proposal’s timeframe syncs up with GOP attempts to retake the White House and, if they can preserve their congressional majorities, repeal and replace Obamacare.

Other Republicans have offered proposals to replace Obamacare — or at least provide an off-ramp from the Supreme Court case, known as King v. Burwell — but the party has not coalesced behind a single plan.

Mr. Johnson said they better get moving, because Mr. Obama and the “mainstream media” will blame the fallout from “King” on Republicans and urge Congress to pass a simple fix that extends the subsidies to all states.

“The first goal of a Republican strategic response must be to prevent President Obama’s cynical use of the coming crisis from working,” Mr. Johnson wrote. “If Republicans wait, we will have no chance of countering Mr. Obama’s response.”

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