Health Care Repeal Waste Of Time?

“……an effort to repeal the full law, given the likely political makeup of Congress in the years ahead, seems pointless.”

President Obama got it exactly right when he said after the historic Supreme Court health care reform ruling last week that the time to refight political battles over the reform law is over.There has been no shortage of fights since the passage in 2010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—heated rhetoric, charge and counter-charge, political battles in Congress and lawsuits have all flowed.Certainly citizens and their elected officials have the right to speak out, and they should exercise that right because change and improvement often flow from constructive criticism.And litigation is a bona fide option for those who believe a law is illegal.But now that the high court, in a decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, a President George W. Bush appointee, has upheld the bulk of the law, including its core provision mandating that most U.S. residents enroll in a qualified health care plan or pay a financial penalty, we believe the time for political battles is over.For regulators, their focus now should be on the development of fair, thoughtful and balanced implementation rules.For employers, their attention will need to be directed at what they will have to do to comply with the law, as well as evaluating what type of plan designs will make the most sense in the years ahead.That said, we don’t want to rule out changes to the law. Indeed, two actions taken by Congress after the health reform law passed—one that repealed a needless financial form distribution requirement and a second that repealed a poorly conceived provision requiring employers in certain situations to give employees company-paid vouchers to buy coverage in state insurance exchanges—were necessary and welcome changes.There is no doubt that there are other health care reform law provisions that are in need of improvement and perhaps even repeal. We are hard-pressed, for example, to understand why lawmakers put a $2,500 cap on flexible spending account contributions.But an effort to repeal the full law, given the likely political makeup of Congress in the years ahead, seems pointless.Just as important, whatever the flaws of the health care reform law may be, a return to the prehealth care reform era, which was characterized by a huge pool of uninsured along with the highest health care costs in the world, doesn’t strike us as a step in the right direction

Editor’s Note: This editorial opinion appeared in today’s issue of  Business Insurance

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