- The Washington Times - Friday, June 29, 2012

President Obama has said he’s open to improving his health care law now that the Supreme Court has upheld it, but his administration wouldn’t say Friday whether the president would agree to repeal any of the provisions Republicans have already tried to axe on their own.

“I think he means by that that he’s willing to entertain suggestions from folks either in the Congress or otherwise who have ideas about how to strengthen and improve the Affordable Care Act,” said Mike Hash, who directs the Department of Health and Human’s Services’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.

Just hours after the court announced the ruling on Thursday, Mr. Obama urged Republicans to stop battling the law but said he’s willing to changes if they are needed.

Possible targets could include a long-term care program HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius suspended last year, saying it was impossible to implement, and a tax on medical device makers that opponents say could cost the industry jobs.

The House voted to repeal both provisions earlier this year but the Democratic-led Senate blocked further action. GOP lawmakers have attempted to repeal parts or all of the health care law 30 times and say they’ll vote again to repeal the whole law on July 11.

But Mr. Hash said the president and his administration have already sought to improve the law for states in some key ways.

HHS has granted them more flexibility in how they set up the insurance exchanges and Mr. Obama has asked Congress to move up the date when they can apply to waivers to implement their own health reform ideas.



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