Smith: Obamacare 'simply not ready for prime time'

DISTRICT 21 Congressman Lamar Smith stopped in Fredericksburg on Monday. —Standard-Radio Post/Ken Esten Cooke

Congressman visits Monday to tell why he voted no

By Ken Esten Cooke— As the U.S. House and Senate tussle over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the budget, District 21 Congressman Lamar Smith said Monday that “Obamacare is simply not ready for prime time.”

Smith and other House Republicans voted last week on a Continuing Resolution that would keep government funded beyond the Sept. 30 deadline, until about mid-December. But the resolution also contained a repeal of the ACA, Smith told members of the Fredericksburg Rotary Club on Monday.

“The percentage of people who like it is now down in the thirties,” he said.

“I just came from Comfort where I visited with an employer who had 55 employees,” Smith said. “Because the ACA applies to businesses with 50 or more employees, this individual is probably going to go to 49 employees so he does not fall within the ambit of Obamacare. That is not the way America is supposed to work, where we provide disincentives for businesses to grow and create jobs.”

Smith said there is a need to fix the expensive and ailing U.S. healthcare system, but he doesn’t believe the ACA is the way.

“There are too many people who have pre-existing conditions, and they should be able to get healthcare insurance in a high-risk pool,” he said. “We should reduce the cost of insurance premiums by making competition nationwide instead of in-state. And we can provide tax incentives to individuals to make sure they get the kind of insurance they need, not just have a one-size-fits-all approach that is mandated by the government.”

Smith said Congress needs to start over again and get it right.

“The fact of the matter is the Senate will not do that. They will send the resolution back to us after they strip out the House’s Obamacare provision.”

Smith said on Friday, the House will combine the Continuing Resolution spending plan with an increase in the federal debt limit.

“About the best we can hope for is a one-year delay,” he said.

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