U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert called on his fellow Republicans to eschew political fallout and come together to reshape the existing Obama healthcare law, noting that they must show leadership and unite to alleviate "suffering" for the American people.
"Obamacare is causing the suffering and we have got to keep pushing on this because this isn't about politics. If people are trying to make it about politics, it's going to hurt them in the end. It's about helping alleviate the suffering that Obamacare is and will cause," Gohmert, a Texas Republican, told Newsmax at the annual Restoration Weekend event in Palm Beach, Fla., a day after the House voted on a fix to the divisive health plan with 39 Democrats breaking ranks in support.
Gohmert urged Republicans to be firm as the healthcare law continues to unravel and Democrat fears over 2014 midterm elections mount. He believes they have the power to reshape something better if they are thoughtful.
"What I keep wanting people to understand in our party is when you stand up for what's right instead of arguing about what's politically best, if you just stand up for what's right, in the end, it may hurt you here or there, but, in the end, it ends up being the best thing politically," he said. "And not getting cute and trying to twist this, just stand up for what we believe in, show the people what our plan is… Let's come together. Let's have these discussions."
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Despite the unification message, Gohmert mixed no words when defining the Obama administration's plan to force healthcare into a single-payer system. He said he read the Obamacare bill completely and said it amounted to a plan that would eventually bankrupt insurers by forcing them to provide a large set of coverage, keep premiums low and then have the government eventually rush in to rescue a system it set up to fail as it called out doctors and providers as "greedy."
He acknowledged that the House resolution is unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate or a certain presidential veto, but said it sends a crucial message to the insurance industry because it changes the way Obamacare moved ahead.
"Obamacare says the insurance companies are going to get hammered if they don't provide the policies exactly like they were supposed to. Our bill says if you got a policy in place before Obamacare now, it's OK. Keep it going for another year," Gohmert said. "So it would allow insurance companies to do that."
Gohmert said he and some House colleagues are working on an alternative interim plan that would not allow a bridge for consumers to keep their policies, at least for a year, removed from sweeping government control, noting "we do have alternatives. We can make this work to get back to sanity."
He explained their rationale: "What some of us want to see is an interim, only a bridge, not a permanent solution, but every state has insurance policies that are approved for the state workers, the federal government has policies that were approved for people that worked for the federal government in the different states that are OK in those states. (This is) just a one-year bridge to get us through this tough time when people have lost their insurance and can't afford what's there," he said.
"Let them buy from the private insurance companies that are approved by the federal government or the state government or the local government. Let them buy those policies for the next year and not those governed by the federal government, not controlled by the OPM in Washington but just controlled by the states."
Gohmert called on lawmakers to reshape a stronger dialogue with the public over what is good and bad within the framework of a federal healthcare law, much like the debates that occurred in 2008 as Obama began discussion on such a plan. By walking it back, listening to feedback, holding thoughtful hearings and not rushing it through, better alternatives are likely to emerge, he said.
"What appealed to the American public in 2008 was the United States president now, candidate then, saying I am going to have debates, we'll even have them on C-SPAN, we will discuss this, and we will get all of this information and we'll pull together a bill. That's what should be done. Our leadership is not ready to have that open debate. It's time not to just say here's the bill; we're going to ram ours through like the Democrats. No, but let's have the open debate," he said.
"It's time to move forward with our plan but let's don't ram one down," Gohmert cautioned of Republicans in shaping a better law. He noted that Congress is full of medical expertise.
"Let's let Mike Burgess, Louie Gohmert, Tom Price, Phil Roe, all of these doctors, John Fleming, let all of these doctors that have good ideas, let's get all of this input."
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