AG Rob McKenna points out flaws in health care mandateon June 28, 2012 @ 12:26 pm (Updated: 7:08 am - 6/29/12 )
Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna says there are details in the health care mandate. (AP Photo)
While Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna said he's disappointed the Supreme Court decided to uphold the health care mandate, he doesn't agree with Mitt Romney in that the whole plan should be dismissed.
"Repealing the entire thing would mean you would be repealing parts that everyone seems to like, for example, no life time caps and covering people with pre-existing conditions. It would be more sensible to repeal those provisions that are particularly objectionable."
McKenna had challenged the law's individual mandate as a violation of the Constitution, and he says he still has concerns about whether there are limits to how Congress could force people to take action by punishing them with a penalty.
"That's one of the sources of heartburn with that law. Congress punts a lot of that decision making to regulators and bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services."
While the dollar amount of the penalty isn't clear yet, McKenna is convinced the federal government is going to try to force Americans into buying the most expensive insurance they can think of because they want young and healthy people to come into the market and subsidize everyone else.
But what's stopping people from just paying the cheaper penalty and then buying insurance when or if they get something like cancer?
"There certainly will be some people who will just pay the penalty because it's a lot less money than the insurance that they'd be forced to buy. That's why it's wrong that Congress is going to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to dictate what kind of insurance you have to buy. Because you know they're going to make you buy the most expensive type."
McKenna joined other GOP attorneys general in the lawsuit over the objections of Gov. Chris Gregoire. He said the state will move ahead with implementing the law and the development of insurance exchanges.
Meanwhile, McKenna wants lawmakers to focus on identifying changes to some aspect of the measure while keeping those that are popular. The attorney general believes that the law exacerbates health care inflation while driving up demand for Medicaid, while driving down supply through changes in Medicaid reimbursement.
McKenna did claim a small victory, saying he was glad the court did not allow the mandate under the commerce clause because that would have dramatically expanded the power of Congress to regulate what people can do.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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