Congressman Ron DeSantis warned Wednesday that his fellow Republicans would take a political risk in failing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and settle for tweaks to the health insurance expansion.
“The system’s architecture is flawed,” the Republican from Marineland, in Northeast Florida, said during an interview on MSNBC.
“It will not lead to lowering costs. Remember, that was the key promise that was made — that you’d see a $2,500 reduction in premiums for the average family. If you’re just nibbling around the edges — my concern is, I don’t agree with Obamacare, but I just don’t think that’s going to lead to putting a downward pressure on costs,” DeSantis said.
“It’s also the case that Republicans for six years have said, first the law wasn’t going to work, and then the law’s not working, and then that we were going to repeal it and replace it with our own patient-centered reform.
“To the extent you’re doing something that’s not really living up to what you promised, I think that runs into problems with the voters. Because Republicans would not have taken the House in 2010 and they would not have taken the U.S. Senate in 2014 if they had just run on minor tweaks to Obamacare.”
DeSantis praised President Donald Trump’s approach during his address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening.
“I actually thought the president hit it exactly right. He was specific enough to offer guiding principles and contours to what a replacement would look like, but he didn’t get lost in the minutia, which I think would have put people to sleep,” he said.
“Particularly on the health care angle, I think what he did was thread the needle, where Republicans are probably going to be able to unify around those principles,” DeSantis continued.
“Particularly the fact that he linked the tax credits to health savings accounts. A lot of conservatives believe that the monies going to a health savings account, the individual can then play their premiums tax-free, and then, obviously, use the health savings account for other medical needs. That is one of the ways you put downward pressure on the cost of both insurance and medical care.”
DeSantis endorsed a work requirement for some Medicaid recipients.
“If you’re an able-bodied, childless adult, there at minimum has to be a work requirement in order to receive that benefit,” he said.
“I think Medicaid should be used to do its intended purpose, which is people who are disabled, who are poor. With the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, you are putting childless, able-bodies adults on Medicaid,” he said.
“The problem with that is, fewer and fewer physicians are willing to accept Medicaid now. So you’re expanding the number of people who are trying to access care on this program. I think that ends up undermining the ability of the truly poor and indigent who we need to be helping, for them to access care. I think giving governor’s the flexibility to do this makes a lot of sense.”
He liked Trump’s suggestion that an infrastructure program contain private investment.
“If it’s an Obama-style trillion-dollar bill, I think, obviously, Republicans are going to have a lot of problems with that,” he said.
“I think there’s a lot of details that are obviously going to be important, but I’m one that definitely would like to incentivize private infrastructure development. And that’s not just roads and bridges. That’s dealing with our electric grid, that’s dealing with pipelines and things like that.
“The details are obviously going to be important. The higher the price tag is, the more difficult it will be to get it through the Congress.