Work to make ACA ‘better’

As this is being written late Friday morning, Sen. John McCain has just announced that he cannot support the Graham-Cassidy Bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Analysts are already announcing that this should be a death knell to Republican efforts to entirely scrap President Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation.

We hope it signals an end to the virulent partisanship that has gripped Washington in general and Congress specifically for the last decade. Just as the Affordable Care Act was passed without a single Republican vote, this year’s efforts at replacing that act have been done in secret sessions without input from Democrats.

It is time for Congress to return to what Sen. McCain refers to as “regular order” — bills going through hearings in committees with input from the public and both parties.

No one — not a single Democrat even — claims the Affordable Care Act is perfect. But it is what Obama describes as “better” than what existed before. The former president believes that because millions of Americans that didn’t have health insurance before the ACA now do.

We’d like to see bipartisan work on fixing the flaws in the ACA. Many markets need to be shored up. Most importantly, Congress must devise a system that ensures more competition so rates will not go sky-high.

With health care spending representing one-sixth of our economy, the delivery system will undoubtedly need tweaking on an almost constant basis. Congress will not solve every problem with its first attempt at fixing everything that ails the ACA.

But if we make it better with each attempt, that will be worthwhile. As Obama remarked in a speech last week, “Better is good.” Perfect would be nice, but is probably not obtainable.

A bipartisan attempt at making the ACA “better” would be a step in the right direction.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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