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Both Parties Lack a Clear Path Forward on Health Care Both Parties Lack a Clear Path Forward on Health Care Both Parties Lack a Clear Path Forward on Health Care Both Parties Lack a Clear...

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Congress / SUNDAY SHOWS

Both Parties Lack a Clear Path Forward on Health Care

photo of Alexandra  Jaffe
June 17, 2012

Even with no shortage of debate over the merits and flaws of President Obama's health care reform law, two influential lawmakers on both sides of the aisle made it clear on Sunday that neither party has a plan if the law is thrown out.

Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming and Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland faced off on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, offering party-line arguments in opposition to or defense of the law, which currently awaits a Supreme Court decision on its constitutionality. Their arguments were typical -- Barasso called the legislation "unconstitutional" and Van Hollen highlighted the widely popular provisions of the law, like an extension of parents' coverage to young adults -- but when asked what plan B was, if the Supreme Court throws out the law, neither offered a clear path forward.

Barrasso -- a physician who chairs the Senate Republican Policy Committee -- expects the Supreme Court to strike down Obama's health care law in what he called a "stinging rebuke of this president's centerpiece legislation." Although he said Republicans "want to repeal everything that's left standing" by the court, he offered few clear ideas on moving forward from there.

"You'll see a step by step common-sense solutions," Barrasso offered from the GOP, citing sales of insurance across state lines and a crackdown on frivolous medical malpractice suits as two possible solutions. But he focused more on what Repubicans wouldn't propose.

"You are not going to see, coming from Republicans, a 2,700-page bill," he said, adding that "you're not going to see a law so voluminous that it cannot be read, so incoherent that it cannot be understood."

Van Hollen, the House Budget Committee's ranking Democrat, gave no indication that Democrats have another option in mind.

"The reality is, this was our plan," he said, but he attempted to put the responsibility on the Republicans for failing to produce a replacement out of the House.

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