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Speaker: Health care law 'rotten"

Fargo - President Barack Obama’s health care law took a couple of body blows Tuesday.

The first came from a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, which ruled that participants in health exchanges run by the federal government in 34 states are not eligible for billions of dollars in tax subsidies.

The second thrashing came courtesy of Betsy McCaughey, a conservative health care policy expert who gave the keynote address at a health care summit in Fargo sponsored by the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce.

“We are in the fight of our lifetimes,” McCaughey told her audience, referring to efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and replace it with something else.

Calling the law corrupt and “rotten to the core,” McCaughey said because of the law’s ramifications for Medicare, seniors will receive less care under Medicare than they did in the past.

Referring to Obama as “our lawless president,” McCaughey said the Obama administration has so distorted and delayed provisions of the act that it bears little resemblance to the law passed by Congress.

She added that because of the uncertainty caused by changes to the law and its timelines, businesses are hesitant to add to their workforces and are more inclined to limit the number of full-time workers they employ.

McCaughey’s distaste for the Affordable Care Act is longstanding.

In 2009, when the act was still a bill and under debate in Congress, McCaughey’s attacks on the proposed legislation are credited with giving rise to rhetoric that included phrases like “death panels” and “pulling the plug on grandma.”

Going back much further, her criticism of the Clinton health care plan in the early 1990s was considered by many to be a factor in that bill’s defeat in Congress.

On Tuesday, McCaughey touched briefly on the appellate court ruling from the District of Columbia, stating the matter will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Compounding the judicial issues surrounding the Affordable Care Act Tuesday was the fact that, just hours after the appeals court panel decision was announced, a separate federal appeals court panel in Richmond, Va., upheld the law and its system of subsidies and tax credits, further adding to the likelihood of a Supreme Court faceoff.

Dave Olson
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