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McConnell: Replace healthcare law with ‘step-by-step reforms’

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) used the Republicans’ weekly address Saturday to call for dismantling President Obama’s sweeping healthcare law.

“The president was certainly right to join a call for health care reform. But the giant bill that he and others rammed through Congress has made things worse,” McConnell said.

“That’s why, as we mark the two-year anniversary of the signing of Obamacare this week, Republicans in Congress are more committed than ever to repealing this unconstitutional law and replacing it with the kind of common-sense reforms Americans really want, reforms that actually lower costs, and which put health care back in the hands of individuals and their doctors, rather than unaccountable bureaucrats here in Washington.”

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McConnell’s attack signals that on the second anniversary of the law's signing and ahead of the Supreme Court's review of it, the healthcare law has become Republicans’ top political messaging priority.

The last several GOP weekly remarks have focused on rising gasoline prices.

With high-stakes oral arguments before the Supreme Court on the healthcare law next week, Republicans are seeking to turn the Democratic law to expand healthcare access into a liability for Obama heading into his reelection fight.

“As we look back at how we got to where we are today, most people would probably agree that America’s healthcare system has been in critical need of reform for years. Among other problems were the rising costs of health care for families, job creators and taxpayers, the exposure of too many families to potentially catastrophic health care costs, and the lack of coverage for millions of Americans,” McConnell said.

“Yet rather than solving the most pressing problems in the old system, the Democrats’ partisan healthcare law has made many of those problems far worse. Costs and premiums are rising, Medicare has been raided, states now struggle to keep pace with even costlier federal mandates than before, and the economy is being sapped as new mandates hold back employers from creating new jobs.”

Despite their strong opposition to the healthcare law, Senate Republicans’ tactical plan for attacking it remains in flux.

McConnell said Friday that no decision has been made about whether to push for another vote to repeal the healthcare reform law before the presidential election. He noted there have been multiple efforts already.

“This has been an ongoing discussion within our conference,” McConnell told reporters Friday. “We’re thinking about it. We already know where everybody is.”

“We’ve had the votes to oppose ObamaCare. We’ve had the votes to repeal Obamacare,” he added. “Every single Republican voted to oppose the law in the first place and repeal it later. We know where everybody is. It’s a matter still under discussion. We haven’t decided yet.”

While the president used his weekly address to talk about transportation funding, Obama’s reelection campaign is seeking to defend the law.

In an email sent to supporters Friday, Obama strategist David Axelrod and campaign manager Jim Messina touted the legislation on the two-year anniversary of its passage – and embraced the term “Obamacare” that conservatives have used to attack the law.

The email directed readers to a part of the Obama reelection campaign's website where supporters can "stand with" the president and say, "Hell yeah, I'm for Obamacare."

"Obamacare means never having to worry about getting sick and running up against a lifetime cap on insurance coverage," Axelrod writes in one email. "It gives parents the comfort of knowing their kids can stay on their insurance until they're 26, and that a 'pre-existing condition' like an ear infection will never compromise their child's coverage."


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