The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


June 30, 2012

Our View: GOP must offer new medicine

If Republicans truly want to go to the mat over the Affordable Care Act — and they say they do — then give Americans what they want.

 A reasonable alternative.

 The Supreme Court, in a  5-4 decision Thursday, upheld the law declaring that penalizing people who can afford insurance but don’t buy it can be treated as a tax.

 Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court’s four liberal justices — Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — to form the 5-4 majority.

Republicans now hope the court’s ruling will fire up their supporters and inflame popular opposition to the law. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and GOP congressional candidates promise to repeal the law if voters put them in power.

 Then what?

 We know the law is not popular with Americans. Each time The Associated Press has asked in polls, more than eight in 10 Americans have said the government should not have the right to require everyone to buy health insurance. Many elderly Americans are worried about the cuts in reimbursements paid to hospitals and insurers by Medicare, which have already started and will grow deeper.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said President Barack Obama deceived Americans by denying that the penalty on the uninsured amounts to a tax. The ruling marks “a fresh start on the road to repeal,” he declared.

Given that, the Republicans would do well to offer up their own plan prior to the November election. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., while he served Southwest Missouri in the House, did just that.

 Some of his proposals were similar to the ACA. He told the Globe’s editorial board almost two years ago that people should not be denied health coverage if they had pre-existing conditions. He also had no problems with allowing those up to age 26 to continue on their parents’ insurance. But he parted ways on cuts to Medicare and the law’s lack of medical liability reform.

 His attitude was and still is today: Let’s keep what works and fix what’s broken.

Republicans would do well to go back to Blunt’s alternative health care plan he offered up some two years ago. Repealing the law without a viable solution for those who can’t afford insurance or who can’t get health insurance does not serve this nation.



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