McConnell: 'Ineffective' healthcare language threatens popular provisions

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on Saturday charged that Democrats' two most-celebrated healthcare reforms are already in jeopardy because of the law's "ineffective" language.

That newly passed bill, among other things, mandates an end to discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions, and permits young adults to remain on their parents' health plans until age 26. Democrats and Republicans alike have long supported both ideas, but McConnell noted in his party's radio address on Saturday that neither reform may take effect until 2014, despite Democrats' insistence that both provisions begin immediately.

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The White House stressed this week that the Department of Health and Human Services would promptly clarify both rules to eliminate confusion, which Democrats later described as sufficient. Still, McConnell said the lapses nonetheless call into question whether the rest of the Democrats' healthcare reforms will prove equally insolvent or ineffective over the coming months.

"In other words, Democrats in Congress just voted to take over one-sixth of our economy, and two of the biggest selling points they used to push it over the finish line already need fixing," the GOP leader said. "Here’s a question: If they can’t get these two things right, how can we expect them to properly manage the rest of it?"

Consequently, McConnell repeated Republicans' new clarion call to "repeal and replace" Democrats' healthcare efforts. He later stressed a revised approach is "what Americans really want," adding it would be "something people far beyond Washington D.C. will actually want to celebrate."

Nevertheless, McConnell's remarks on Saturday indicate the GOP's stated determination to quash much of Democrats' new healthcare law before it enters into effect in 2014.

A vocal chorus of Republican lawmakers is already clamoring for a prompt repeal, promising to nix most of Democrats' more contentious reforms if the GOP recaptures the House in 2010. Simultaneously, a growing number of GOP state attorneys general are preparing legal challenges against the law, arguing its mandate that every American purchase health insurance is an explicit violation of the Constitution.


However, Democrats in Congress and the White House have so far dismissed those threats. Entering the Easter recess, many in the party instead continued celebrating their hard-fought, year-long slog to pass a bill that pundits have said will define President Barack Obama's tenure.

But McConnell on Saturday sharply criticized the party for taking solace in its efforts prematurely.

The GOP leader described the healthcare law as "an excuse to undermine" the U.S. system's many strengths, adding his party would ultimately strive to produce better reforms.

"We can expand access to people with preexisting conditions. We can keep people from being kicked off their plans. We can lower costs and premiums. We can do all of these things without undermining the things we do best and without raising taxes that kill jobs in a bad economy," McConnell said, further criticizing Democrats' plans.

“The American people know that," he continued. "That’s why they’ve been clamoring for a different approach, and that’s why Republicans are committed to repealing this bill and replacing it with common-sense solutions that achieve the good things that folks on both sides want to achieve without all the nasty consequences we’re already beginning to see."

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