Cain would repeal healthcare reform law, roll back employer-based coverage

If presidential hopeful Herman Cain has his way, he’ll be repealing healthcare reform three years to the day after President Obama signed it.

Cain said Wednesday that as president, he would hope to sign a repeal law on March 23, 2013. Obama signed the healthcare law on March 23, 2010.

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“This legislation has truly backfired,” Cain said during an appearance at the Congressional Health Care Caucus. He also spoke earlier in the day to a group of conservative doctors.

Cain said he’d replace Obama’s healthcare law with a series of boilerplate conservative proposals while also trying to largely eliminate employer-sponsored insurance. Most Americans get health insurance from their employer.

“A paradigm has evolved that revolves around the employer paying for people’s health insurance, or part of it, instead of the employee paying for it directly,” Cain said. “And so, unfortunately, many people have grown up accustomed to somebody else paying their health insurance.”

Cain also said Medicare needs bigger changes than raising the retirement age or restructuring benefits.

“Talk to the states, talk to the doctors, and find out what we can we do first to reduce the Medicare bureaucracy, Cain said. He went on to say Medicare’s regulatory burden is driven “by the fact that the bureaucrats don’t trust states and hospitals.”

Medicare is run by the federal government; states don’t pay for Medicare benefits. As for Medicaid — which is a joint state-federal program — Cain said he would convert the federal share of the program’s funding into block grants for the states.

Repealing Obama’s healthcare law would involve rolling back politically popular sections including a ban on discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. Cain said he would create insurance pools, at either the state or federal level, through which the government would cover the cost of insuring the sickest patients.

“I do believe that government has a role to provide a safety net,” he said.

Cain did not take questions from reporters at either of his healthcare events Wednesday.

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