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Health reform ; GOP responsible for new bill, getting Obama to agree to changes

It's a lot easier to criticize than correct.

That's where the Republicans in control of the House are now.

With the public basically opposed to last year's health reform law, the Republicans rode a comfortable anger train against the Democrats for passing "Obamacare." Of course, we now know that the Affordable Care Act was misnamed, given that the public faces sharp increases in health insurance costs and nothing was done in the new law to avoid that.

With Republican leadership fulfilling its pledge, the House last week voted, by a huge margin, to repeal the law. But what now? When challenged, Republican House leaders point to positive action by committees they have formed to address the health problem, but that's as far as they've gone.

Republicans start with two huge missions: Lowering costs and providing individuals more flexibility. Essentially, they say the law was President Obama's forced prescription, which imposed government health policy on the public. Republicans want to change that equation to one in which Americans are in charge of their own health care.

While the onus is on the Republicans to come up with an approach of their own, it may not be as difficult as one would expect to secure significant change from what we have now.

First of all, there are a lot of current senators and congressmen who were either elected because of the public's unhappiness with the Democrats or are returning to their seats, fully aware that the last two years of Democratic leadership was roundly rejected.

The bill, which Obama ramrodded through Congress and will cause an increase in individual health care costs, rankled the public as much as any other legislation of the past two years.

Along with the public, the new bill aggravated small businesses because of the extra hassle of reports and new expenses.

Another reason why new provisions in the law are quite likely is that the president took seriously the overwhelming defeat he sustained in November and has sharply changed his attitude on a number of subjects, most notably putting his anti-business position behind him. We believe he will be open to some of the changes the House will propose.

The Republicans have to come up with virtually a new bill, and they must use their persuasive political skills with the Democrats and the president to arrive at positive results for the public.

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