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Wayne Post
  • Our view: On health care, no answers from GOP

  • Having failed every other way to derail President Barack Obama’s health-care reform, congressional Republicans are determined to block any corrections or modifications in the Affordable Care Act that could be construed as improvements, especially by employers, in the current law. They hope that b...
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  • Having failed every other way to derail President Barack Obama’s health-care reform, congressional Republicans are determined to block any corrections or modifications in the Affordable Care Act that could be construed as improvements, especially by employers, in the current law.
    They hope that by not fixing the errors, inevitable in the drafting of any legislation this size, that employers will be so annoyed by the law that they will stand with the Republicans in repealing it, which the GOP has tried and failed to do 37 times since the law passed.
    But, according to The New York Times, "A coalition of large retailers, restaurant chains and temporary staffing companies, along with their powerful Washington trade associations, says it accepts the pillars of the law. But the group, calling itself Employers for Flexibility in Health Care, or E-Flex, is pressing for significant changes."
    E-Flex is seeking changes in the definition of full-time worker and the definition of what constitutes a large employer, and a longer grace period to comply with the law when it goes fully into effect in 2014.
    In any normal legislative era, such a group probably would get some or all of these changes. It is almost standard practice for major, complicated laws to be brought back into the shop for fixes, modifications or sharpened language, or for the jettisoning of provisions that had proved unworkable.
    It happened with Social Security, Medicare, the Children's Health Insurance Program, the prescription-drug entitlement and almost every tax bill Congress has passed.
    The Republican position is clear: No tweaks, no fixes, no modifications, nothing that might make the law more popular with voters when it takes full effect in 2014.
    Indeed, Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, in a recent meeting with the Daily Messenger Editorial Board, pointed to a host of problems with the law, but would not offer solutions that would make it work better. His suggestion — and it’s a position he has maintained since beginning his campaign for Congress last year — is that the health-care law needs to be scrapped. Still, he offered no ideas of his own on ways to insure more Americans in the unlikely event “Obamacare” is repealed.
    Opponents don't have much time. Parts of the law — such as coverage of pre-existing conditions, a longer stay on their parents' health plans for adult children, no lifetime caps — have proven extremely popular.
    And in states where governors are making a real effort to implement it, the ACA is showing real promise. In New York, state health department officials are working on a health benefit exchange that will offer residents a marketplace to buy lower-cost health insurance as part of the federal health-care legislation. Per law, the state must begin enrolling people by Oct. 1, with coverage to start in January, and state officials are confident they can meet the deadline.
    Page 2 of 2 - In other states, run by Republican governors who refuse to allow the law to expand Medicaid, millions of families will still be denied health insurance, a failing they’ll have to explain once their constituents see what they are missing. The governors might have a decent response if the Republicans had a better plan, or any plan, waiting in the wings.
    We know the GOP doesn’t like the Obama administration’s answer to the nation’s healthcare dilemma, but what are their solutions? It’s time they told us.
     
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