Pushing Back The Employer Mandate And Improving The Affordable Care Act

When enforcement of the employer mandate got moved back a year, I expected conservatives to celebrate, and call for pushing it back indefinitely. I was pleasantly surprised to see a liberal blogger, Ezra Klein, call for its repeal and point out its problems.

For the benefit of those who may have already forgotten, we got stuck with the Senate bill, rather than the much better House bill, when Scott Brown won the seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy. The only way to pass health care reform at the time was to take the Senate bill already passed without changes. That was better than doing nothing, but unfortunate.

Normally when there is major legislation, we have chances to improve upon it and fix problems. If that wasn’t to be done in reconciliation with the House bill, we would expect that subsequent legislation would make the needed fixes. Unfortunately, Republican have been unwilling to govern responsibly, pushing bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act but refusing to work on improving it.

If Republicans were willing to act responsibly, there are even things conservatives want which probably could be accomplished, such as reducing the power of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (making their recommendations subject to an up or down vote by Congress) and adding malpractice reform. They could look at objections from business and improve upon the Affordable Care Act. Instead they want to make political points rather than governing.

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