Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Sunday downplayed the need to find an alternate way to insure the 30 million Americans who will get coverage under the President Obama’s health care law.
On Fox News Sunday, McConnell said Republicans want to repeal ‘Obamacare’ and implement “modest” reforms. Host Chris Wallace pressed him on how he would insure 30 million Americans that will get coverage under President Obama’s reforms.
“That is not the issue,” McConnell said. “The question is how can you go go step by step to improve the American health care system. It is already the finest health care system in the world.”
Wallace responded, “You don’t think 30 million uninsured is an issue?”
“Let me tell you what we’re not going to do,” McConnell said. “We’re not going to turn the American health care system into a western European system.”
The remark reflects how much Republicans have shifted away in recent years from the formerly bipartisan goal of universal coverage.
McConnell said the primary issue is lowering costs, naming “interstate sales of health insurance” and “lawsuit reform” to achieve that goal. He backed state-run high risk pools as a way to insure more Americans. The ideas mirror Mitt Romney’s prescription, according to an analysis by the New York Times.
McConnell’s comments indicate the vulnerability of the Republican push to get rid of the law: years after promising repeal and replace, they still lack a comprehensive solution to achieve goals on the same scale of the Affordable Care Act.
In an email to the Huffington Post after his appearance, McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said Republicans would help the uninsured by lowering costs. “If health care is more affordable,” Stewart wrote, “more of the uninsured can find coverage.”
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.