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Sen. John Barrasso: No Idea What High Court Will Do on Obamacare

By    |   Thursday, 05 March 2015 06:06 PM

Sen. John Barrasso, a chief architect in the Republican bid to squash the Affordable Care Act, tells Newsmax TV that despite this week's spirited debate before the Supreme Court, he has no clue which way the nation's top jurists are leaning.

"You just never know what the Supreme Court is going to do," Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, said Thursday on "The Steve Malzberg Show."

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"I don't think any of us predicted correctly what the court was going to do last time when you look at how they ruled.... You just never know what they're going to do."

"We talked about what the law actually says and the opposition side said that there would be a lot of problems for people if they lose the insurance premiums, the subsidies that the president gave illegally."

Barrasso said the Republican Senate and House are working to make sure that there's healthcare protection for Americans, "but not protection from this law."

"The president has tried to bend and twist and not believe he has broken the law and that's what the Supreme Court is going to rule probably in about three months from now," he said.

The justices appeared divided Wednesday during their final day of oral arguments on the future of the Affordable Care Act. The court's four liberal members back the government's position, but what both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy think is unclear.

About seven million people in 34 states could be affected if court decides the law prohibits people on the federal healthcare exchange from receiving insurance subsidies. In many cases, coverage would be unaffordable for those affected. The plaintiffs say the plain language of the law should be followed, which states subsidies are only available to people living in places where the insurance marketplaces are "established by the state."

Barrasso — who has created his own health care proposal along with Sens. Orrin Hatch and Lamar Alexander — said he was unable to read Roberts.

"He didn't tip his hand in any way, didn't really ask questions. He gave both sides longer than expected to present and discuss their cases," he said.

"Both cases were supposed to be 30 minutes and 30 minutes and the whole thing went almost an hour and a half."

Barrasso reiterated his position that the health care law as passed and signed by President Barack Obama cannot be fixed.

"It needs to be repealed and replaced. What we're trying to do is provide a temporary transition for people that have been receiving subsidies … [and] transition them away from Obamacare and to more local control of those decisions," Barrsasso said.

"Back home, at the level of the state with the freedom and [with the] flexibility to choose insurance that works for them, not what the president has mandated. These mandates with what they call essential health benefits, I call them excessive health benefits as a doctor who's looked closely at this.

"The mandates from the president are they'd have to buy a lot of insurance much of which they don't need or can afford. If we can allow people to choose what's best for them and their families rather than what the president says they have to have, it would help lower the costs of care."

In a separate interview with Ed Berliner, host of Newsmax TV's MidPoint, Barrasso said Obama's promises to Americans about what the healthcare law was going to do, have flopped.

"The president promised them premiums were going to drop $2,500 a family. Instead they've gone up. Copays, deductibles have gone up," he said.

"[The] copays and deductibles [are] so high that people still can't get to the doctor or such a limited network of doctors to take care of them … Plus all of these mandates are the things that are really driving up the cost.

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"When the president decides that he knows better than you know what's good for you or your family, we've got trouble in this country."

Barrasso told Berliner that what Obama calls "essential benefits" of the law, "I call … excessive benefits because it's a lot of things people end up having to pay for insurance for that they don't need, don't want, and can't afford."

"He focused on getting more people insurance, but didn't focus on lowering the cost of care of care for people who need healthcare. We want to make sure people get the care they need from a doctor they chose at lower cost."

Barrasso said those who believe the nation needs one-payer system should examine countries which already have it such as Canada and Great Britain and had huge problems.

"I've operated on people from Canada that have come to Wyoming for me to take care of them because they couldn't afford to wait long enough for their free operation," he said.

"So there are costs and limited cared, long lines, and we're heading that way in the United States.

"We want decisions made at the local level, decisions made by patients, we want patients to have the freedom and flexibility and choice that they can get the insurance that works best for them and their families, not what big government, [what] big brother Barack Obama says they have to have."

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Sen. John Barrasso, a chief architect in the Republican bid to squash the Affordable Care Act, tells Newsmax TV that despite this week's spirited debate before the Supreme Court, he has no clue which way the nation's top jurists are leaning.
john barrasso, obamacare, supreme court, justices, views, house, senate
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2015-06-05
Thursday, 05 March 2015 06:06 PM
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