Boehner: Too Late to Just Repeal Obamacare, GOP Should Tackle Immigration (Video) (Updated)
Updated 10:27 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday that changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act make it impossible to repeal the health care law unless Congress has a replacement ready as well.
Speaking at a Rotary Club meeting in his Ohio district, the speaker also mocked members of his own conference for not wanting to address immigration, knocked the tea party — or, more specifically, organizations that raise money purporting to represent the tea party — and expounded upon the role of money in education, according to a news report from a newspaper near his district.
On health care, Boehner said simply repealing the Affordable Care Act “isn’t the answer” and it would take time to transition to a new system.
“When we were debating Obamacare in 2010, we offered an alternative that consisted of eight or nine points that would make our insurance system work a lot better.
[To] repeal Obamacare . . . isn’t the answer. The answer is repeal and replace. The challenge is that Obamacare is the law of the land. It is there and it has driven all types of changes in our health care delivery system. You can’t recreate an insurance market overnight.
“Secondly, you’ve got the big hospital organizations buying up doctor’s groups because hospitals get reimbursed two or three times doctor’s do for the same procedure just because it’s a hospital. Those kinds of changes can’t be redone.
“So the biggest challenge we are going to have is — I do think at some point we’ll get there — is the transition of Obamacare back to a system that empowers patients and doctors to make choices that are good for their own health as opposed to doing what the government is dictating they should do.”
Spokesman Brendan Buck downplayed Boehner’s comments. “For four years now, the House Republican position has been repeal-and-replace,” he said.
The GOP, however, has taken a number of votes to repeal the law, including bills that would have completely repealed the law without replacing it. The party hasn’t unified behind a replacement, let alone voted on one, since Boehner took the speaker’s gavel. Republicans however have been working to craft such a bill for months. Boehner’s comments seem to reflect the new reality of the law. With 8 million people having signed up on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, and every state having adapted to the new regulations, repealing the law effective overnight would be messy in the extreme without at least a transition period.
On immigration, Boehner gave his impersonation of the Republican refusal to take on the issue.
“Here’s the attitude. ‘Ohhhh. Don’t make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard,’” Boehner whined before a luncheon crowd at Brown’s Run Country Club in Madison Township. “We get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to. . . . They’ll take the path of least resistance.”
Boehner said he’s been working for 16 months or 17 months trying to push Congress to deal with an immigration rewrite.
“I’ve had every brick and bat and arrow shot at me over this issue just because I wanted to deal with it. I didn’t say it was going to be easy,” he said.