Some of the Supreme Court justices discussing the health care law have suggested that Congress may be able to amend it if a majority strikes down the individual mandate, or other measures. But this Congress doesn’t seem amenable to a debate.
The Affordable Care Act often called Obamacare remains a rallying cry in the Republican-controlled House. And the individual mandate requiring most Americans to obtain insurance or face fines arouses the most controversy. “The individual mandate is unprecedented, unlimited, unnecessary, and dangerous,” Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif., chairman of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on health, said Thursday. “The individual mandate is also deeply unpopular with the American people.”
The senior Democrat on the panel, Rep. Pete Stark, also from California, wearily countered at a hearing that tens of millions of Americans already were benefitting from the health care law, which bars insurers from excluding children with pre-existing conditions, among other measures. After sitting through the oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, “I’m not so sure how anxious I am to hear it all again,” Stark said.
“I’d also note that Democrats don’t hold the patent on an individual mandate. Many leading Republican elected officials and policy experts — ranging from Newt Gingrich to Mitt Romney to the Heritage Foundation’s Stuart Butler have all advocated an individual responsibility requirement for the purchase of health insurance,” he said. “Newfound Republican opposition to this concept at times makes it seem as though we have all fallen down the rabbit hole.”