WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans intend to seek quick repeal of any parts of the health care law that survive a widely anticipated Supreme Court ruling, but don't plan to push replacement measures until after the fall elections or perhaps 2013.
Instead, GOP lawmakers cite recent announcements that some insurance companies will retain a few of the law's higher-profile provisions as evidence that quick legislative action is not essential. Those are steps that officials say Republicans quietly urged in private conversations with the industry.
Once the Supreme Court issues a ruling, "the goal is to repeal anything that is left standing," said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., a member of the party's leadership.
Beyond that, "we ought to go step by step to lower the cost" of health care, he added, a formula repeated by numerous other Republicans interviewed in recent days. Across the political aisle, neither President Barack Obama nor congressional Democrats have said how they will react to a high court ruling that could wipe out the legislation.
"We're not spending a whole bunch of time planning for contingencies," Obama said this spring at the annual meeting of The Associated Press. He expressed confidence the court would uphold the law, and neither he nor his aides have said what fallback plans are under discussion.