After President Obama publicly challenged Republicans to send healthcare solutions his way, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) noted that the GOP has more than 200 pieces of healthcare legislation already floating around.
“People forget. We’ve already given him ideas. You know, people talk a lot about the 41 times vote to delay and repeal. But seven of those actually got through the Senate, and the president signed, they’ve saved about $62 billion,” Cole said on MSNBC this morning.
“So, we’ve been putting ideas on the table, but frankly, the president hasn’t put very many ideas on the table. This is his legislation, it’s not worked well…Although, again, we’re happy to help where we can.”
Cole said the party “absolutely” has a response plan to replace Obamacare.
“There’s actually a couple of good ones out there. Tom Price, you know, who’s a physician from Georgia has got one. Republican Study Committee has one that has — I’m very proud to be the co-sponsors of. It’s a comprehensive plan,” he said.
“We’ve put one on the table, people seem to forget this, when the Obamacare was passed. So there’s over 200 pieces of Republican sponsored healthcare legislation out there. So there’s lots of ideas. And again, we’re willing to sit down and work with the president but the reality is this thing just simply hasn’t worked. Millions of people are losing their insurance, rates are going up. You know, people are not satisfied with the product. And again, I think this is the president’s responsibility, it’s his signature legislation so, you know, he can’t sort of blame the failure on us when we’ve been against what’s failing from the very outset.”
When Cole was told that the White House didn’t consider GOP proposals serious because they didn’t address full coverage for all people and conditions while controlling healthcare costs, the congressman responded, “Well, actually it is a proposal, it’s just simply not the proposal that you wanted.”
‘And look, we’ve put a lot more faith in individual choice and markets than you do. I mean, you want a government-control system. You wanna micro-manage it. Our basic philosophy is that doesn’t work very well. Government’s not good at doing that,” he said. “And I think honestly, this has been a colossal failure. And — and our critique has largely been worn out.”
“The price of insurance hasn’t come down anywhere. The reality is, under this system, you’re gonna have millions of winners. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that. But you’re gonna have tens of millions of losers as well. And you’re getting government into a marketplace that it doesn’t understand, that it doesn’t manage well. You know, that’s why more people have lost insurance so far, that have gotten insurance under this system. I have no problem with exchanges and people comparing prices, but honestly, let’s be real. The United States government isn’t Amazon, they don’t do this very well. And there’s no reason to believe it’s gonna get better as we move forward.”
Cole said, though, that his constituents flooded him with opinions that they don’t like Obamacare but didn’t want to use a government shutdown as a tactic to derail it.
“And I’m from a district in a state where the president didn’t carry a single county,” the Oklahoma lawmaker added. “But the reality is, people know shutting down the government is, number one, never gonna work. There’s important services, you put people out of work. It’s a bad idea.”
“And number two, it’s bad politics. It’s just simply silly. You know, we’ve tried this a number of times, I don’t know why we need, every 17 years, I guess Republicans are like cicadas, they need to try it one more time.”