Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) spoke with conservative bloggers today in a conference call that had been scheduled in anticipation of today's Obamacare ruling at the Supreme Court.
Senate Republica Leader Mitch McConnell, introducing Sen. Johnson,noted that "repeal and replace with common sense reform" will be at the top of his agenda come January if he is Majority Leader. McConnell reiterated a point he made right after the Court announced its decision, that the Obamacare legislation was passed as a "deception" that it was not a tax. In fact, McConnell said, the healthcare takeover is a "massive tax" that will fall disproportionaely on lower middle-class Americans.
Sen. Johnson -- who is an accountant by profession -- expressed disappointment with the Court's opinion but said that Republicans are "very unified" to move forward to.
Alluding to the holding that Congress did not have Commerce Clause power to pass the Affordable Care Act, Johnson said conservatives came "tantalizingly close." He said the majority "rewrote the law" to uphold it.
Now, the task for Republicans is to paint a picture for voters as to exactly what the health care legislation will do to them as patients, small business owners -- and what it will do the American economy. Costs will increase, innovation will decrease and the country will go bankrupt if the Affordable Care Act is not repealed and replaced, Johnson said.
It is "jaw-dropping how underestimated the costs" of the law are, Johnson said.
He predicted that employers will have a simple deicsion to face: pay $20,000 per family/year for mandatory health insurance or pay a $2,000 fine. Employees, moreover, will then be able to take advantage of $10,000 federal subsidies to get insurance that their employers would have provided pre-Obamacare. The cost to the federal government, when thousands of individuals figure that calculous into their decsion-making, will be more than the federal government can ever shoulder. Employees "in the millions" will choose to be subsidized, Johnson said. "It is a budgetary disaster waiting to happen."
Johnson conceded that it is unlikely that Republicans will pick up enough seats to obtain a filibuster-proof super-majority of 60. He therefore expects that the best possible result from Congress in the short term, now that the law has been re-cast as a tax, is that it could be de-funded with a simple majority through the reconciliation process.
Chief Justice John Roberts has made "clear its not their [the Court's] duty to repair bad laws," Johnson said. The solution now must be a legislative solution, and Johnson said that will require a Republican majority in the Senate and a Republican president.
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