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Congressman Thomas Massie

Representing the 4th District of Kentucky

Rep. Thomas Massie: GOP Obamacare repeal 'stinking pile of garbage' written by the 'insurance lobby,' and it 'will fail'

Mar 7, 2017
In The News

Thomas Massie does not mince words. For more than six years, Republicans have promised to repeal Obamacare and after reviewing the long-awaited replacement package for a few hours, the Kentucky libertarian wasn't impressed. Massie thinks "it's a stinking pile of garbage."

Many of the provisions within the bill that he finds so objectionable, Massie explained, aren't bugs. They're crony features of a product designed by, and for the benefit of, the insurance industry.

Real reform won't happen, Massie argued during a recent meeting of the Washington Examiner's editorial board, unless Republicans push special interest out of the process. "I think the [American Healthcare Act] was written by the same people that wrote Obamacare," he said. "That's why it looks so similar. It was the insurance lobby."

The Republican base started complaining about the repeal almost as soon as House Speaker Ryan unveiled the plan. It preserves many of Obamacare's provisions, such as the regulations, penalties and Medicaid expansion, while creating a system of refundable tax credits for the purchase of health insurance.

Massie balks at that last provision, describing it as a sort of new corporate entitlement. "I've been wondering what the payment mechanism is," he asked. "But I found out today that the check goes straight to the insurance company. They're the ones that get a monthly check to subsidize health insurance for almost everybody."

And for GOP leadership, the margins for success are slim. Already the leaders of the roughly 40-member Freedom Caucus expressed disappointment in the bill. If the bill is going to advance, Ryan can't lose more than 20 Republican votes. But as it's written, Massie predicts "this bill will fail."

Ironically, a dour Massie agrees with longtime foe and former House Speaker John Boehner. "The other day when he said it's not going to get repealed," Massie admitted, "I thought for once he's committing candor and I agree with him."

Long an opponent of government expansion, Massie hopes he's wrong. But just in case, he adds "please don't shoot the messenger."