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Can move forward with health care

The Supreme Court ruled this week that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obamacare to its opponents, passes legal muster, is constitutional and enforceable.

So now we do indeed have the first national health care program in the history of the nation with no further review of its legal application.

What next?

Opponents will scramble to continue the fight against the ACA, raising complaints about costs and impacts on hiring, as well as lingering concerns on the part of the more strident opponents that the constitutional status should remain in question in spite of the Supreme Court ruling.

After all, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives that came about in 2010 was a result of campaigning against the ACA. So continuing the fight may, in their electoral perspective, be strongly beneficial going into the 2012 elections.

Prior to the ruling many Republican political pundits had suggested that if any of the ACA survived the court, the Republicans in Congress would be energized to kill the balance of the law. Speaker Boehner has made a statement to this effect this week. Since essentially all of the ACA survived intact after the Supreme Court review, that task is significantly greater.

The task is greater because the chief objection, that the law was unconstitutional, is now a claim without merit. Apparently the constitutional lawyer president was right in that claim throughout the discussion, and his critics wrong.

And the ability of Republicans in Congress, or the ability of a President Romney, if elected, to kill the law are simply not practical outcomes given the way lawmaking works. To reverse the ACA Republicans would not only have to pass reversal in the House, but gain 60 votes in the U.S. Senate, an impossible task now or after the fall elections in all likelihood.

And should President Obama win re-election, an at least even odds perspective today, then any Congressional action to reverse the ACA would be vetoed.

The path then to reverse the ACA is virtually dead as of this ruling by the Supreme Court.

But the unlikelihood of reversal does not mean that opponents will not make claim that they will do the impossible, and their supporters should send money to help them reverse Obamacare.

Such an appeal would, and could, energize the Republican base, increase contributions, and galvanize supporters through the fall. But what it will not do is change the near impossibility of reversing the ACA.

The wiser path, the better path for the country, would be to end the fight and work with the administration and Democrats in Congress to make the ACA effective and valuable. Where changes might make the Act better, those changes should be discussed and enacted with the wisdom of all in congress.

It is time to move on…opponents can do better for the nation by accepting that the U.S. now has national health care for the first time, and although this is far from perfect law, it is a workable basis to move forward.

The outcome of the ACA will be more Americans insured, better coverage as a result of a broader base of insured, and a solution to one of the key imbalances in our health care system, accessibility.

What is left to address is the still unresolved path to cost control. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have found solutions that address the spiraling costs of our health care system.

President Obama has accomplished a great deal in his presidency with the vindication of the Affordable Care Act. Let’s move forward now with the basis of a long term solution in place.

 

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.