Former New York Gov. George Pataki called the Affordable Care Act "the worst law of my lifetime" on Newsmax TV
on Wednesday, and urged an extreme makeover of President Barack Obama's prized healthcare overhaul, which turned 5 years old this week.
The ACA is unconstitutional, needlessly disruptive for millions of Americans, and a threat to the country's finances, the three-term Republican governor and rumored presidential contender told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner — "and the tragedy is that this didn't have to be done."
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"There were market-based solutions to provide healthcare for those who didn't have access before," said Pataki. "Instead, they blew up the whole system. It is wrong, it should be repealed, it's unconstitutional. But most important, we have got to pass an alternative and get this out of the way."
Pataki railed at "the fact that Obama and Congress rammed through Obamacare, the worst law of my lifetime [in 2010], and made it apply to every single American, and then exempted themselves and their staff."
He explained his ranking of the ACA as among the very worst: "I can't say 'ever,' but in my lifetime I don't think there's been as big a law that's had as negative an impact.
"It has changed healthcare for every single American," said Pataki. "I have a small business. We're paying a lot more, and it's not just me. It's businesses across this country that are paying a lot more.
"There are millions of Americans who were happy with their healthcare, who lost it, and now have to scramble to get on an exchange, or get something else," he said. "And it's going to blow out the deficit and impact negatively our ability to get quality healthcare going forward."
But there's hope, said Pataki, pointing to market-based healthcare reforms he championed as governor of New York in the face of opposition and doubt.
"People said you couldn't do it," he recalled.
"We had the last Soviet-era command and control system where the health department in Albany decided what every healthcare provider could do across the state, and we replaced it," he said.
"We replaced it with a market-based system," said Pataki.
Repealing and replacing the ACA will require some juggling, said Pataki: "You can't just take one away and not have the alternative, but the alternatives exist."
He recommended hanging onto "some parts of Obamacare dealing with pre-existing conditions — not letting insurance companies drop people, after they've provided coverage for years, as they get more elderly.
"There are some provisions we should renew," he said, "but we should do it in a way where we take Obamacare, throw it on the ash heap of history, and pass a new comprehensive health law that uses market-based initiative, individual decision-making as a basis to provide quality healthcare to all Americans."
Pataki also criticized Obama for advocating fewer medical tests and procedures
without spelling out why so many are administered.
"President Obama today is talking about limiting expensive procedures to lower costs," said Pataki. "Many of those procedures are essential for people's health. The problem is not those procedures. The problem is this president and the Democrats in Congress have done nothing to get rid of junk lawsuits, so that too many tests are being ordered not because they're not a good test, but to protect the doctor against getting sued.
"If we got that change made, we could lower the cost of healthcare, improve the quality, have greater access to physicians, and do it very quickly," he said.
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