Attorney General Rob McKenna did his best to count victories this morning after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the lawsuit he joined to overturn the Affordable Care Act. And he said other Republicans should drop talk of a wholesale repeal of the law because "that's not going to happen."
At a late morning press conference, McKenna insisted the ruling was good for Washington because the court ruled Congress doesn't have the authority under the Constitution's Commerce Clause to order people to buy health care insurance. "We achieved our goal" of finding that out, he said.
But he was surprised by the decision of five members of the court to rule the mandate is allowable under Congress's taxing authority, adding that Chief Justice John Roberts' determination that the tax isn't subject to the restrictions of some other taxes was "a bracket buster."
The state should move ahead with its work to meet provisions of the law, such as the Health Insurance Exchange which will allow individuals to shop for insurance more easilly, he said, and to look for more ways to reform health care.
But other Republicans should stop talking about repealing the law, and instead focus on specific provisions that prove unworkable, he said.
Democrats passed a massive bill with many controversial provisions by pushing it through Congress. "To completely blow it up means we're essentially doing the same thing, in reverse," he said.
Besides, the Democratically controlled Senate isn't going to repeal the law, and Obama isn't going to sign a repeal, he said.