West Virginia Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito told Newsmax Wednesday that a piecemeal defunding of Obamacare may appear to ordinary Americans as nothing more than a Beltway "food fight."
But opponents need to keep their eyes on the prize, she said, stressing that a "complete dismantling" of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is possible.
"We need to have a commonsense sort of way of approaching this and we don't want to lose the American public here and have it devolve into too much of a food fight for people to understand that this healthcare bill is something that they know they don't want and that they know is not fair and is unworkable," Capito told Newsmax in an exclusive interview.
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Noting delays in implementing aspects of the new law -- most recently in its caps on out-of-pocket insurance costs -- Capito called the law "flawed" and said lawmakers should "start over."
"We do need health reform, we do need accessibility and affordability in our healthcare system and more insured but by all these delays, by all these special decisions as we move into the full implementation, it tells me it's not ready, it's unworkable, it's unpopular, and nobody knows what the ramifications are," she said.
But she predicted 7 million people would lose their their employee-sponsored insurance if the law goes forward.
Capito plans to introduce the "No ObamaCare Subsidies for Congress Act" when Congress goes back in session -- legislation aimed at overturning an administrative policy allowing Congress members to get a subsidy to nudge them onto Obamacare exchanges.
She said she refuses any such subsidy.
"If we were regular citizens making what members of Congress make, we would be ineligible for a subsidy," she said. "So why should we be treated any differently? It's an issue of fairness."
Capito, who has announced her candidacy for the Senate seat of retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller, said she hopes to be "a bold and new voice in Washington."
In particular, she said, the administration's energy regulations are having a "devastating effect" in coal-rich West Virginia.
"Our coal is way down," she said. "We're losing jobs. We're losing transportation jobs, we're losing service jobs, we're losing electrical jobs, service pump jobs. It just goes on and on because of the administration's war on coal."
Yet, she pointed out, coal comprises 40 percent of the energy mix in the U.S.
"It's affordable, reliable, and a cheaper source of energy and it's abundant in our own country," she said. "It's hurting West Virginia. It's hurting the heartland."
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