PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Former Speaker of the House and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich discussed the Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with their own health care law, telling Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that the process is very complicated but he would not put it past Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to get it done.
“I might not have tried to do it all in one bill because it is so big. It is one-fifth of the economy. It’s life and death for every American and Obamacare’s made it such a gigantic mess, it’s almost impossible to fix in one bill. But, Senator McConnell pulled together a working group, they have developed what is, really, a draft bill. He’s now trying to find, can he get to 50 votes? If he can get to 50 votes, then, with the Vice-President’s vote, he can get it through the Senate. I think it’s a very challenging assignment and I think, what they’re doing and, this is what people need to understand, you bring a bill out and five or six key members say no, I’m not going to vote for that bill, that doesn’t mean that they are not open to amending the bill…Hopefully, you go through this process and, as you listen to each Senator, you actually improve the bill. So, by the time you get to vote, whether that’s going to be this week or it’s going be after the recess, I know that Mitch McConnell wants is this week, he’s a been a remarkably effective Senate leader and I know that, in his mind, he has all week to talk these guys into saying yes.”
Gingrich rejected the argument that Republicans should just repeal the current law without anything ready to replace it.
“I think you’d have total chaos. If you, literally, took out all the structures, all the subsidies, all the different things that Obama built into this thing, which he was working on, remember, since 2009, you would just, literally, have chaos. I think, psychologically, it’s useful to say, what is the replacement and how do we want to get to it? But, I think it’s a three or four step process. I always tell everybody, as soon as this bill is signed into law, they will start to work on the next health bill because you’re not going to get it fixed in one bill. It’s too big a mess.”
He also believes Republicans would have had a much smoother path if they were better at explaining exactly what they are trying to do.
“It illustrates a different problem for the Republicans, which is their lack of communications capability. If they were in North Dakota right now pointing out that the Democratic Senator voted for a bill that doesn’t work and that hurts North Dakota, if they were in Missouri doing the same and in Indiana doing the same, and West Virginia, they’d start getting some Democrats showing up, saying can I help? But the Republicans are so unable to communicate, as somebody who studied under Reagan and who led the [Contract With America] in 1994, it is amazing to me how limited the Republican communication ability is.”