MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Republicans have said they will run against the Affordable Care Act in November, so presumably Romney, if elected, and a Republican House and Senate could repeal the Act.

Polls show this is the popular stand, with more than half of Americans wanting some part of the law repealed. And now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld most of the law, it is only Congress that can undo it.

But just as Chief Justice John Roberts threaded a needle in order to uphold the mandate of requiring most Americans to purchase insurance, Republicans will have to finesse their push for repeal to account for the fact that some parts of the law have become popular.

After the ruling this week, students and parents were openly rejoicing at the University of Minnesota — young people under the age of 26 will be allowed to stay on their parents’ health plans. And at the Courage Center, which treats 12,000 people a year, many of them with severe disabilities, the ruling was being hailed as the biggest step forward since the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The ruling upholds the Affordable Care Act’s ban on lifetime caps on insurance policies and bars insurance companies from discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions. The pre-existing condition ban will be extended to adults in 2014.

These are parts of the law that appear to be among the most popular. Republicans will have to figure out how to campaign for the repeal of ACA without alienating those who like these portions of the law.

In upholding the ACA, the Supreme Court has set the agenda for the November campaign. It will be a referendum on health care reform, with voters deciding if the changes they already have seen are ones they want to keep.

The debate on health care appears ready to push the economy side as the central issue in the campaign. And that may be welcome news for the President, as a debate on repealing ACA will have to focus, in part, on aspects of the law that many Americans are embracing.


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