U.S. Representative says battles still lie in Obamacare
U.S. Representative Dr. John Fleming, R-LA 4th District, said things in Washington are quieting down until the election season is over.
“I don’t anticipate any significant battles until after the 2014 (Congress) election. Both sides are waiting to see what we have to work with — who will control the Senate and who will control the House of Representatives,” he said.
However, Dr. Fleming is quick to note that it won’t all be calm with battles still lying ahead on the Affordable Care Act.
“Democrats are doing what they can to deflect the heat and the Republicans are pouring coals on Democrats,” he laughed.
He said how big of an issue the GOP can take with “Obamacare” depends on the election.
“If we take control of the Senate, we will definitely force issues,” Fleming said.
“What people hated about Obamacare is it’s a huge bill with many complex parts. We want to create replacement legislation that is broken into a piecemeal legislation of easy concepts for everyone to understand,” he explained.
He said that legislation would include allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines to create healthy competition and lower costs, medical malpractice reform with the aim of lowering healthcare costs, enhancing health savings accounts to engage patients with the cost of their healthcare, and tax parity between employment plans and individual plans so premiums would have the same tax deductible ability for unemployed as for employed.
“If (Republicans) had a free hand, we could get the economy back up and going and fix healthcare choices, but to compromise and go along with bad ideas is in itself a bad idea. My commitment when I went to Washington almost six years ago, was ti review and evaluate each bill on its own merits. I would never vote for something just to say we came to an agreement and I think we see too much of that in Washington,” Fleming said.
Looking ahead to November, Fleming said he expects Republicans to keep the House, plus grow a few seats, and grow the Senate. He said the jury is still out on whether they can turn it red, however.
“Whether we take the Senate is still an open question. We will probably end up with something like a 51-49 ratio. Who is that 51 and who is that 49 isn’t known,” said Fleming.
Regardless, he noted that Obama’s agenda is currently dead.
“Either way, the President is going to be a lame duck president. The many things he’s done has made people unhappy and changed the face of Congress. Other than what he can do through executive orders, he won’t get anything else passed.”
Post President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech that called for increasing minimum wage, Fleming said it was all for show.
“It’s really going to have very little effect. Democrats are applying pressure for a major increase to $10 or $15 per hour. I don’t have a problem with increases to keep up with inflation but those types of increases cause businesses to not sell products at higher prices, and all that’s going to do is kill jobs,” Fleming explained.