Trent Lott: GOP Should Fix Obamacare If SCOTUS Invalidates Subsidies

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Former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said Thursday that his party should work with Democrats to fix Obamacare if the Supreme Court rules to invalidate premium tax credits on the federally-run insurance exchange.

“I would think they should work at that,” the Mississippian, who’s now a lobbyist for Patton Boggs, told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, arguing that technical corrections to major legislation are routine. “Almost always on big bills we’d have technical corrections.”

He said the question is which members of the House and Senate would help strike a deal “without demolishing the bill.” Lott floated as possibilities Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the incoming chair of the Ways & Means Committee, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the incoming chair of the Finance Committee, and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who will be ranking member of the Finance Committee.

When a reporter followed up to clarify that Lott would encourage Republicans to support a technical fix to Obamacare to clarify the ambiguity at issue in the Supreme Court case, he said, “Sure. Yeah. I would.”

It’s not clear what the new Republican Congress will want to do about Obamacare if the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell rules that the statute forbids subsidies on the federal exchange, which serves millions of residents in the 36 states which opted not to build their own. A ruling against the Obama administration could greatly damage the law.

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader-elect Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said a ruling in King against Obamacare would “take it down” and pave the way for a “comprehensive revisitation” of health care reform and “major do-over of the whole thing.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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