PRESTONSBURG — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday during a town hall meeting at Highlands Regional Medical Center that he didn’t see much opportunity to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” if President Obama wins reelection in November.
McConnell, who was touring the area, and stopped briefly to speak to a largely medical professional audience, said Obamacare would likely continue under a second term of the president. “You learn pretty early in school that elections have consequences. If you win you get to make policy, if you lose you go home.”
According to the senator, PPACA was the first serious piece of social change legislation that was passed on a strictly partisan level. He described those benefited by the legislation, the more than 30 million people without insurance, as being the young who choose not to have insurance and the poor who can not afford it. McConnell said the federal mandate makes the issue very complex, and called PPACA a “huge mistake,” and something he hopes can be corrected.
During the informal speech, Sen. McConnell said that if the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, is elected then it will be far more likely a repeal attempt would be successful. As a replacement for PPACA, McConnell said that he would likely push to create national insurance competition which would help drive down costs, while at the same time maintaining a level of quality.
McConnell also said that the issue of tort reform in medical malpractice suits is also worth looking at as a way to lower the costs associated with medical treatment.
Though there wasn’t a great deal about the current plan that McConnell said he liked, he did identify the rule of a 26-year-old being allowed to remain on their parents insurance, and not allowing insurers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, as aspects of the current law that would likely be carried over to any replacement at the federal level. “The balance of it I believe ought to be handled at the state level,” said McConnell.
Also briefly touched upon was the national debt, saying that any serious discussion of reducing the national debt was going to have to delve into the current level of entitlements. He stated that 60 percent of the current federal budget is spent on making payments against the country’s debt, and funding entitlement programs.