House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Tuesday said GOP lawmakers were committed to repealing President Obama’s healthcare law and better controlling health costs if the Supreme Court left any provisions standing in its upcoming ruling.
“There's clearly a consensus at least in the House of Representatives that ‘ObamaCare’ was a mistake and that we need to really repeal the law so we can get back to the kind of healthcare outlook most Americans are looking for,” said Cantor on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
The high court will deliver its highly anticipated decision on the president’s signature domestic achievement Thursday.
Cantor said any GOP effort to replace the bill would need to focus on curbing the rise in healthcare costs, which he said Obama neglected to address in his reforms.
“The whole discussion on ObamaCare back in ‘09 started with the president indicating that he wanted to do something about bringing down cost and if we brought down cost somehow we could afford more access to more patients,” said Cantor. “Costs became secondary, if not tertiary, and instead what took its place was coverage and now what we have is an unsustainable situation where under this law, which we believe is very flawed— Washington’s in control of what goes on between patients and doctors.”
“When did it ever work for Washington to go in and set costs to provide quality service? You can think of any number of examples, whether it’s IRS, post office or what have you where most Americans would say ‘wait a minute, I think the private sector could do a lot better,’” added Cantor.
The GOP House voted to repeal the Obama health law after it reclaimed the majority in the chamber last January, but the measure was rebuffed by the Democratic-controlled Senate. House lawmakers subsequently passed several bills that would undo specific aspects of the Obama reform law and attempt to lower costs.
Any effort to replace the president’s healthcare law if the entire legislation is not struck down in its entirety Thursday could prove complicated for the GOP. Polls show many provisions are popular with the public, and Republican leaders would need to find Democratic support for any replacement healthcare bill.
But Cantor Tuesday stressed that House leaders were committed to crafting legislation that addresses what he said were the current health law’s shortcomings.
“Patients and doctors, healthcare providers can do a lot better,” he said. “There’s a lot of innovation that’s going on out there in the market, we need to capture that and provide some more choice and focus in this country on disease management.”