Conservatives to Unveil Obamacare Replacement Bill

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted September 17, 2013 at 2:17pm

While the House GOP continues to grapple with how to defund or delay Obamacare in a continuing resolution or debt ceiling deal, the conservative Republican Study Committee is preparing to unveil its bill to fully replace the 2010 health law.

At a news conference set for Wednesday, RSC Chairman Steve Scalise of Louisiana and RSC Health Care Working Group Chairman Phil Roe of Tennessee will roll out their long-anticipated “repeal-and-replace” legislation. Fellow GOP Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, John Fleming of Louisiana, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Todd Rokita of Indiana are also expected to attend the event.

The RSC press release announcing the bill’s introduction included no hints of what the legislation might contain. But in August, CQ Roll Call got the scoop on the measure’s anticipated fall debut.

“We’ve obviously fought very hard to repeal the bill, to unravel different pieces on it that are falling on its own weight, anyway,” Scalise said in a brief phone interview at the time. “But we’ve also been working to put together a true alternative that would lower market costs and fix some real problems that existed before Obamacare that are made worse with it.”

Scalise didn’t give a lot of details during that phone call , but said the bill would include protections for people with pre-existing conditions — one of the main benefits of Obamacare.

“We address that to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions cannot be discriminated against,” he said.

He promised, however, that it would not “put in place mandates that increase the costs of health care and push people out of the insurance that they like.”

Though this will won’t be the first Obamacare repeal-and-replace proposal floated by individual GOP lawmakers in either chamber of Congress, the RSC bill has the potential to gain traction, given the conservative group’s size and influence.

Of course, it will have to pass muster with House Republican leaders. And it also would need to secure the blessings of outside advocacy groups such as Heritage Action for America and the Club for Growth, whose disapproval has proven disastrous for some House GOP proposals.

Scalise said in August that those groups would have a chance to weigh in on the legislative proposal, along with other stakeholders on and off Capitol Hill.