DeMint Brings "Defund Obamacare" Message To Central Ohio


UPDATED: Wednesday August 28, 2013 10:34 AM

The president of the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation says Republicans in Congress, including Speaker of the House John Boehner, should force a showdown with president Obama over federal funding for the Affordable Care Act.

"I think he's playing the political game, he's trying to determine which way is best for him to win the next election," said former US senator Jim DeMint in an exclusive interview with 10TV.

"Our calculations are a little different. This bill should be stopped. I think if the Congress gets back in September and they feel an overwhelming support to stop this thing it will certainly change the political calculations in Washington."

DeMint acknowledges the political risk for the GOP in risking a federal government shutdown, but says it's a bigger risk for them not to keep their campaign promises.

"President Obama's popularity is declining and the popularity of this law is bad and growing worse," said DeMint.  "If Republicans can't win this battle you have to ask yourself 'what difference does it make that they win the majority?'  And I tell Republicans since when do Americans not fight for what's right because they might lose?"

As Ohio lawmakers continue to debate Medicaid expansion, DeMint says governor John Kasich, a fellow Republican, is on the wrong side of the issue.

"The promise of the federal money is what I call fool's gold," said DeMint. "It's going to be there for a few years but over the next ten years expanding Medicaid to follow Obamacare is going to cost Ohio billions of dollars. 

I'm glad that over half the states have said no Medicaid expansion. Medicaid is already strangling state budgets. The more people you move on to Medicaid the harder it is for someone on Medicare or Medicaid to find a doctor."

DeMint would not speculate on whether Kasich was risking the wrath of conservatives and the tea party as he looks at reelection in 2014.

"I know the governor's heart is in the right place," said DeMint.  "I think John Kasich is a wonderful person, but government compassion doesn't work. 

To promise people you're going to give them health care when all you're giving them is a plan that doctors won't take is not the best way to get people insured.  If you look at the long term costs of this it's not good for Ohio and it's not good for the people either."

DeMint points to polls showing the American people still split over Obamacare.  He says this may be the last shot for Republicans to stop it.

"It was passed under false pretenses," said DeMint. "A lot promises were made about it that really weren't true. The president isn't handling it like a law. He's giving waivers to Congress, waivers to Big Business. He's missed 50 percent of the legal deadlines. He can't call it a law and then ignore the law.  Republicans who fund the government but don't fund Obamacare are not shutting the government down. The question is whether the president will shut the government down in order to preserve his failed law."

DeMint says many government services like Medicaid, Social Security and essential military services will not be affected if the government closes. He acknowledges, however, there will be "some inconveniences."

"This is about politics, not about policy," said former Democratic congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy.  "It's complete hypocrisy.  It's about stop Obama.  Stop the president.  Stop Obamacare.  And the shame of it is that there are over a million people in Ohio that would benefit from the exchanges.  People are now unable to buy health insurance."

Kilroy says progressives are perplexed on why the Heritage Foundation opposes Obamacare now, when the individual health care mandate was their idea from the start.

"They are on a bus trip opposing, hypocritically, the idea that was the basis of their own writings on health care reform," said Kilroy. "That we should all be individually responsible, and pay for our own health insurance, and work toward an exchange where we can all buy health insurance.  These are two of the cornerstones of Obamacare."

Progressive groups suggest DeMint and Heritage are funded by corporate interests who oppose the health care law.

"What is it that they want, because if it's just of corporations to play politics with people's health, than we don't need their bus in Ohio," said Brian Rothenberg of the progressive think tank Progress Ohio.  "Why are these people rooting against an American law?  Why are these people rooting against people's health care?  Why are they rooting against America?  And the answer is simple, money."

 

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