Republicans might slam Affordable Care Act but agree with several key provisions, Whitfield says

10/30/2013 11:06 AM

While Republicans have broadened their criticism of the Affordable Care Act roll-out, Kentucky U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville, said he and other Republicans agree with one of the central goals of the law: making sure people with preexisting conditions have coverage.

Whitfield told Pure Politics that Republicans disagree with how that provision is enforced. They would prefer insurance companies were mandated to provide coverage rather than requiring individuals to have health insurance, Whitfield said.

“We believe you can allow individuals to buy insurance across state lines. We believe that you can have the guarantee issue —so that if you have preexisting conditions that’s not going to prevent you from getting insurance. We don’t mind keeping children until they’re 26 or 27 on their parents insurance policy that was never an issue,” Whitfield said (3:20).

There might be “significant problems” with the roll out, but Whitfield said Republicans should focus on changes to improve the law rather than trying to repeal it until the GOP controls the U.S. Senate and White House.

“Since (the Affordable Care Act) is the law of the land we might as well make sure the thing works as well as it can work,” Whitfield said.

And that, he said, is why he didn’t understand the strategy of ultra-conservatives in the U.S. House trying to link a provision to defund the Affordable Care Act to the continuing resolution in September that extended funding for the government. The impasse over that led to the 16-day government shutdown.

“I don’t think you can defund it, because it’s a mandatory program,” Whitfield said (3:00). “That’s why this defund effort was sort of puzzling, because this is mandatory spending primarily.”

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