Huffpost Politics

Mitch McConnell On Health Care Law: 'More Incremental Fixes' Over 'A Massive Republican Alternative'

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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 6: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks as Senate Republican leadership hold a press conference after their weekly policy luncheon in the U.S. Capitol building March 6, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 6: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks as Senate Republican leadership hold a press conference after their weekly policy luncheon in the U.S. Capitol building March 6, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

Prominent Republicans have made no secret about their disdain for President Obama's health care law.

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is among the opponents, but appears to be offering little course of alternative action for uninsured Americans.

In a column for Bloomberg View, Ramesh Ponnuru writes that McConnell vows he'll "try to repeal Obamacare." But when asked about a GOP counterproposal, the Senate minority leader does not plan on offering something of the same magnitude as Obama's law.

"We would want to more modestly approach this with more incremental fixes," McConnell said. "Not a massive Republican alternative."

McConnell's rhetoric presents a sharp turn from previous GOP cries to "repeal and replace" the initiative. As recently as Friday, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney used that combination, saying that "it's critical that we repeal Obamacare and, by the way, also replace it."

On the same day, McConnell scoffed at the anniversary, reducing it to birthday party status.

"I saw the president down at the White House," he said during a Capitol Hill news conference. "I'm a little surprised but there wasn't a birthday cake to celebrate the second anniversary of Obamacare."

Three days after the candles were blown out on that proverbial cake, the Supreme Court began arguments examining the constitutionality of Obamacare. A main question at hand was whether the federal government can levy a penalty against Americans for not carrying insurance. Ponnuru threads in McConnell's view on that issue, noting that the Kentucky senator believes the individual mandate gives the government power to enforce anything that the constitution does not explicitly forbid.

Outside of lawmakers' opinions, the public remains lodged in a nuanced debate on the health care legislation's merits. HuffPost's Mark Blumenthal notes that polls show a lineup of "multifaceted opinions":

Throughout the health care reform debate, pundits and partisans have often tried to boil down public opinion into simple and often contradictory assertions, as they have : Americans either "oppose the Affordable Care Act by comfortable margins" or are "deeply divided." Either they "want to get rid of it" or they want the government to "implement this law smartly" but not "start over."

For better or worse, the reality lies somewhere in between, and public support for the law can not easily be expressed by a single number.

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