GOP Senate candidate: It’s ‘not practical’ to repeal ObamaCare
A Republican Senate candidate is breaking new ground by publicly bucking her party on its longtime call to repeal ObamaCare.
Kathy Szeliga, who currently serves as a Maryland state legislator, said Friday that it is “not practical” to try to repeal the law more than six years after its passage.
“Only people trying to raise money on this issue talk about repealing it,” she said Friday during a radio debate hosted by the D.C.-area radio station WAMU.
“Physicians and insurance companies have said repealing it at this point — we’ve spent billions and billions of dollars on this — is not practical and the numbers don’t exist in the Congress to do that.”
Szeliga, who is running a long-shot bid against Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), appears to be the first Republican candidate to reject the idea of repealing the healthcare law in 2017.
It’s a shift in stance from previous years, when Szeliga voted to weaken ObamaCare and to scrap the state-run exchange.
When asked directly if she would repeal the law, Szeliga suggested that it isn’t possible, but made clear that she doesn’t think the law is working.
“We need to reform it. It’s collapsing in on itself,” she said.
Scrapping ObamaCare has been a GOP talking point since the law’s passage in 2010, though conservatives have quietly acknowledged that the law becomes more entrenched each year.
Because Democrats still stand behind the law, Republicans would need to control both chambers of Congress – as well as the White House – to fully roll back ObamaCare.
The law has also survived two separate reviews by the Supreme Court, with no major challenges left in the pipeline.
Szeliga’s comments reflect an argument made by the Obama administration, with President Obama defending the law last year as “part of the fabric of how we care for one another.”
The representative for Baltimore County, she has served as the Maryland House’s minority whip for three years. Szeliga and Van Hollen are vying to replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) in a long-time Democratic stronghold.
Maryland has been faced with major ObamaCare troubles this year: its largest insurer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, demanded a premium hike of 26 percent as it complained of $100 million in losses.
Another insurer, United Healthcare, announced it was pulling out of the state altogether.
Van Hollen, who voted for ObamaCare, said during the debate Friday that he would work to strengthen the healthcare law by helping to create more options for people selecting health plans.
“I support creating a public option to create more competition and more options,” he said, echoing many in the Democratic party who are defending the law during this election season.