Republican congressman dares suggest improving Obamacare

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-11-2013-05-2008

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Rep. Jack Kingston

Don’t get too excited about this from GOP Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia—he has yet to propose an idea that would actually improve Obamacare—but:

“And there’s some criticism, ‘Well, are you helping improve this law when you make that change? And should we be doing that?'” Kingston said of pushback to his bill.

“A lot of conservatives say, ‘Nah, let’s just step back and let this thing fall to pieces on its own.’ But I don’t think that’s always the responsible thing to do,” he added.

“I think we need to be looking for things that improve healthcare overall for all of us. And if there is something in ObamaCare, we need to know about it.”

Then, Kingston suggested the unthinkable: That Republicans should actually listen to reasons why Obamacare isn’t the Devil’s Medicine:

“If you get a lot of letters that say, ‘Hey, back off, it works. I have a special needs child and here’s why its been good for me,’ we want to listen to that,” he said.

In a sane GOP, neither of these statements would raise an eyebrow—Kingston’s words come down to a simple declaration that better is preferable to worse, and that if something is good, he’d like to know. But today’s GOP isn’t sane, and it’s a little surprising to hear Kingston give voice to such thoughts, particularly in light of the fact that he is a southern Republican seeking his party’s nomination for U.S. Senate.

Along with Kingston, Georgia’s GOP primary field includes two of the state’s nuttiest congressmen, GOP Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey. It also features former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, who tried to ban Planned Parenthood from receiving support for breast cancer screenings from the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Kingston really isn’t anything close to what ordinarily comes to mind when you think of “moderate,” but given the extremism in that field, it’s possible that he’s consciously trying to pursue the “not crazy” vote.

That being said, when Kingston’s office was asked for clarification about his comments, his spokesman told The Hill that the congressman’s remarks weren’t really about improving Obamacare—they were about replacing it:

“He essentially said that we don’t just need to wait for Obamacare to die under its own weight, we need to be looking for solutions that would replace it,” he said.

The thing is, if you replace Obamacare without repealing it first, you’re actually just building on top of it—which is exactly what President Obama, Democrats, and most Americans want to do. I doubt Kingston will actually deliver any substance to give meaning to his words, but the fact that he wants to be seen as a guy who is willing to work to improve Obamacare is a sign that the politics around health care reform aren’t nearly as simple as the dominant media narrative suggests.

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