- Jack Torry Washington Bureau
In a growing rift among Republicans, Rep. Jim Jordan rejected calls by some GOP lawmakers to “repair” the 2010 health law, saying the law known as Obamacare was a “complete disaster” and needs to be swiftly and completely scrapped.
During an interview Friday on Fox News, Jordan, R-Urbana, said for Republicans “to say we’re going to repair something implies you can actually fix something. This needs to be repealed because that is what we told the voters what we were going to do.”
Jordan, among the more conservative House members, said scrapping the health law was a “central issue” in each of the past four congressional elections, asserting Congress needs to dismantle the old law as soon as possible, even if lawmakers do not have a specific substitute version ready.
“We need to repeal it first,” Jordan said. “When you repeal it, health care gets better and costs less.” He said any substitute should be based on market principles such as expanding the use of health savings accounts and allowing insurance to be sold across state lines.
“I think the American people get it and (that is) why they elected us,” Jordan said. “I feel confident we’ll get it done — repeal every tax, regulation and mandate and put in place those policies, those principles that actually are conducive to choice, conducive to lower cost and better care.”
Jordan, former head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was objecting to calls by Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Lamar Alexander who have adopted the word “repair” as opposed to the phrase “repeal and replace,” which was employed by many Republican congressional candidates.
Jordan also appears to be at odds with Rep. Pat Tiberi, a Republican from suburban Columbus, who chairs a health subcommittee and will have a hand in drafting a new health law. Tiberi told the Associated Press Thursday said the term “repair” probably “lessens people’s anxiety that we won’t pull the rug out from under them.”
The word “repair” first was used last week during a Republican retreat in Philadelphia as a growing number of GOP lawmakers seemed alarmed at scrapping the old law without having a substitute to vote on. By not replacing the old law, Republicans run the risk of 20 million low and middle-income Americans losing their health coverage.
The health law extended coverage to roughly 20 million of the 46 million Americans who lacked insurance. The law expanded coverage through federally-subsidized private insurance plans and an expansion of Medicaid, the joint state and federal program that provides health coverage to low-income people.
In a statement released Friday, Tiberi said after the retreat in Philadelphia “it was clear” President Donald Trump and a majority of Republicans hope “to successfully transition to a patient-centered system that is better than Obamacare and ensure that the rug is not pulled out from underneath anyone.”
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