McConnell highlights Obamacare’s problems, renews call for alternative

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on Democrats Tuesday to start over on health reform, rattling off a litany of problems and broken promises that surround Obamacare.

In a floor speech, the Kentucky Republican said it was clear to Republicans that some Americans would lose their health care plans because the Affordable Care Act imposed new coverage standards. He also said customers are in for rate shock and may lose their doctors because of narrow networks on the exchange plans.

“We knew the promises wouldn’t hold up,” he said.

Republicans have made Obamacare’s stumbles the centerpiece of their bid to retake the Senate this fall. Mr. McConnell is locked in his own battle back home against Democratic nominee Alison Lundergran Grimes.

The GOP has put forward several blueprints and statements of principle on health reform, but the Republican-led House is unlikely to move on a comprehensive replacement to Obamacare before the fall elections.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, had been the main proponent of putting an alternative on the floor, but he lost his primary and will cede his leadership position at the end of this month.

Still, Republicans insist the health care law is damaging the country’s health care system and must be rectified. Most recently, they highlighted a pair of inspector general reports that said the Health and Human Services Department is unable to deal with inconsistencies between Obamacare applications and existing records.

“Middle-class taxpayers are feeling enough pain from this law already,” Mr. McConnell said Tuesday. “They shouldn’t have to subsidize inaccurate, or even fraudulent, Obamacare claims now too.”

For its part, the Obama administration has said it acknowledged its early stumbles last fall and is progressing by the day in ironing out the law’s technical problems. Democrats say the law is improving the lives of millions of Americans and will keep health costs in check.

But Mr. McConnell said their overhaul is heading downhill, and that voters should know it.

“So the Democrat plan seems to be to double down on the mess they created, and to hope that Americans can be distracted enough to forget about it in November,” he said. “Well, if that’s their plan, it’s not going to work.”

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