SiriusXM host Alex Marlow asked Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) on Friday’s Breitbart News Daily for his thoughts on the Republican healthcare bill.
DeSantis said the highlights of the healthcare debate include “people like Ted Cruz who have been working to get consumer freedom so that you can opt out of these onerous Obamacare regulations.”
“That’s the only way you’re going to be able to have premiums that are affordable, and so they really fought to include that in there,” he said. “So I think that that is good.”
“I think the bad parts are, look, it’s not repealing all of Obamacare,” he continued. “It doesn’t even repeal all of Obamacare’s taxes. The Medicaid is done in such a way that it may not happen ten years down the road.”
“We promised a full repeal. That’s what we should have done. I realize that there are certain political considerations with some members perhaps, but it just seems that it’s a partial repeal. I think if we would have done a full repeal, I think that would actually be more popular, and I think it probably would have worked better,” DeSantis contended.
Marlow expressed disgust at the backroom deals and kickbacks employed to bring recalcitrant Republicans on board with the bill, in a grim reprise of the deals cut by Democrats to secure Obamacare’s passage.
“This whole debate has shown us that almost every Republican ran on repeal. It’s now time to do it. Most Republicans in the House and Senate do want a full repeal, but you have a number of Republicans who – even though they ran on repeal, even though they banged their chests saying they’d repeal it – really actually like a lot of Obamacare and are really fighting to keep Obamacare,” DeSantis charged.
“I laugh when I hear people get up in a conference meeting and say, ‘We need to repeal Obamacare, but we can’t repeal the Medicaid expansion, we can’t repeal the regulations, and we can’t repeal the subsidies and taxes.’ And I’m like, ‘What do you think Obamacare is?’ But yet, that’s what people have done,” he said.
“They’ve campaigned on these talking points that their consultants give them because they know that’s what the voters want to hear. Then they get up here, and it turns out some of these people, even though they have an R by their name, really want government-centered health care. That, I think, is the big dividing line,” he proposed.
“People say, ‘Oh, you guys have had seven years to come up with a replacement.’ Look, there’s stuff in there, the HSAs, there’s different things in there that I think will be pretty good. The biggest issue has been the repeal,” DeSantis said.
“We haven’t been able to agree on repeal because you’ve got guys like me that say, ‘Look, we said we’d repeal it. Why are we even debating this? But then you have some other people, even though they ran on repeal, are saying, ‘Well, we can’t actually, can’t repeal that or that or the other thing.’ So you end up with kind of this product that’s a compromise, and I think it will be better than Obamacare, but it’s not fully as good as we can do,” he lamented.
“That’s why it’s been frustrating. It’s been a very frustrating debate,” DeSantis said. “We had promised to have this bill on the president’s desk on January 20 to do the same repeal bill we did in 2016, he signs it on January 20, 2017, and then we do have a debate about how do you reform the healthcare system? How do replace different parts of Obamacare, however you want to do it? But they called an audible, they changed it, and so I think it’s been an example of how not to do legislation.”
DeSantis said he understood why the healthcare debacle has shaken the faith of Republican voters.
“At the end of the day, you run for office promising to do certain things, and if you get the chance to serve, you do what you said you would do,” he advised members of his caucus. “We promised we would repeal Obamacare, replace Obamacare. We’ve got to do all we can.”
“I will say, I think if the leadership had its way, a lot of the bill was written with the insurance industry. I think you end up with probably a road to single payer,” he added. “But you have guys like Mark Meadows in the House. You’ve got guys like Cruz in the Senate fighting for the deregulation.”
“Deregulation is really the only thing that’s going to save the middle class and make it better than Obamacare. If that stays in there, then I think we can say, ‘Look, we fought as hard as we could. We’re rolling back a lot of it. I wish we had more votes to do it, but we are giving some consumer freedom. You take that consumer freedom out, then it becomes a much dicier proposition,” DeSantis warned.
Marlow asked if there was still any hope the current Congress would deliver “big tax cuts for the American people.”
“I do,” DeSantis replied. “I think the big problem with the tax proposal was that the leadership had a border adjustment tax in the House proposal. That’s a non-starter, and it really holds up tax reform. I think we’re getting to the point where people, the stakeholders, realize that’s not going to fly. If you could put that aside and then focus on the things that unite conservatives, I think there is a pathway forward.”
“Having said that, just dealing with the healthcare thing, it’s been frustrating because you read the Republican platform; we’re unified on all this stuff, but then you get up here, and you have people saying, ‘Oh, we can’t do this. We can’t do that,’” he added. “We have a clear path, but we’ve got to seize the day.”