U. S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said Wednesday that if the U. S. Supreme Court throws out the health care reform passed by Congress, it will lead to the country going back to a system that didn’t work.
“Look, our old system was broken, and this system is a step, I think, in the right direction. It’s going to take some fine-tuning as we go on, ” he said during a telephone press conference.
“I really don’t know what the Supreme Court is going to do, but whatever the Supreme Court does, we’ve got to move forward from there. ”
Tester said the bill not only helped spread the cost, forcing people to take responsibility instead of passing on costs by going to emergency rooms, but also helped people with problems like pre-existing conditions keeping them from getting insurance or losing coverage when they reached lifetime limits after suffering catastrophic illness or injuries.
“I stand by the fact that I think that we did need to reform health care, ” he said.
When asked if the bill might have easily passed a test of constitutionality if differently written, such as using a tax credit rather than penalizing people who do not purchase insurance, Tester said he has heard that as well.
“Why it was constructed the way it is probably has to go back to 1995 when (U. S. Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan.) presented this health care plan, because that’s really where its origins came from, ” Tester said. “And it was probably what happened in Massachusetts with (former Gov. Mitt Romney) and the plan... that I’ve heard is fairly comparable. That’s probably what the folks on the (Senate) Finance Committee were looking at when they constructed it. ”
He said, if the mandate that individuals buy health insurance is struck down by the Supreme Court, that will be enough to kill the entire program.
“I think what you’ll see, if it’s thrown out, and if the mandate is thrown out, for the most part that bill is thrown out, I think you will see us go back to the old system, which wasn’t working very well, ” Tester said. “That’s not to say this bill is perfect. It’s not, and I will tell people that.
“We’ve made changes to it already, and we’ll continue to make changes. ”