Republican legislators made a "big mistake" in targeting the Affordable Care Act for repeal as their first goal under the Donald Trump administration, said Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev.
"I don’t think we should have done it first. I think we should have done the economy first. We needed to get some wins. We should have done transportation and the economy first, and then done healthcare after. I think you would have seen a very different result on healthcare," Heller said, the Washington Examiner reported.
"We jumped in with two feet and we were not ready. We weren’t ready, and the results were obvious. We did eliminate the (individual) mandate. We did get some of the taxes. I did push back and postpone the Cadillac tax and some of those issues, but we made the big mistake of trying to do that first and it was too heavy of a lift," Heller said.
"It was a missed opportunity, without a doubt," the senator added.
While Heller initially spoke out against two repeal-and-replace efforts in 2017, he ended up voting for the "skinny repeal" option because it did not affect Medicaid, the Examiner noted.
"I think we could have a healthcare system that works for everybody. As long as the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land… premiums are going to go up. If you’re advocating for the Affordable Care Act — and my opponent was — if you advocate for the Affordable Care Act, all you’re advocating is higher premiums and less coverage. That’s all you’re advocating for, and that has to change," Heller said in the interview, the Examiner reported.
Healthcare has been a primary topic in Heller’s re-election campaign. His Democratic opponent in the November midterms, Rep. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., has released two ads that slam Heller for changing his mind on the issue. One ad called him "Senator Spineless Dean Heller."
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