Claremore Daily Progress

August 20, 2013

Congressional Update: Mullin believes delaying Obamacare best approach

Rep. Mullin believes delaying Obamacare best approach

Tom Fink
Staff Writer

CLAREMORE —

U. S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin told Claremore business leaders Monday that delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare — is the best strategy for Congress.
Following his opening remarks which included a joke about his being late because he had to wait on a train, Mullin directly addressed his thoughts on “Obamacare.”
“National healthcare — there’s been a lot of talk about defunding government to fund ‘Obamacare’, especially as it pertains to shutting down the government,” he said. “There’s been some talk about delaying implementations. Why delay it instead of just do away with it altogether? Why even waste our time doing that?  Well, the reason we’re trying to delay it instead of do away with it is that we’ve tried to do away with it 40 times and it doesn’t do us any good. Not to mention, if the Senate was to pick it up to do away with it — Obamacare, the chances of this President vetoing that bill are slim to none. 
“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this President has a little bit of an ego and he’s wanting to have something intact for him to be able to hang his hat on when he leaves the White House in three or four years,” he said. “If the situation arises to where we can change it, keep the name (Obamacare) in place so he can still say he had this piece of legislation while he was in the White House, then that’s what we’re going to do.
“So the delay in the implementation will be an idea for us to build on — to go through and pick apart little pieces of it (Obamacare) — maybe doing away with a 49th employee mandate, where, after 49 employees, employers will be forced to carry insurance on people,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest threat we have to our economy, not to mention to Oklahoma.
“Businesses over 50 (employees) go out of business too — who’s going to replace them?” he asked. “Let me tell you, if I was growing a company and had 49 employees and was looking at hiring another employee that would cost me an extra $100,000 (to insure), that 50th employee would never be hired. 
“There’s never a time I, or really any business owners, would say we’ve got an extra $100,000 laying around because when you’re growing your company and are hiring your 50th employee, then you’re taking what the IRS calls profit and putting it back into your company — that’s why you’re growing, that’s why you’ve got 49 (employees) to begin with, because you’re re-investing into it,” he said.
“Now, they’re talking about taking that $100,000 away, so you’ll have that much less to invest in your company and you just hired an additional employee,” he said. “Well, no one’s going to be able to do that — that 50th employee won’t get hired, and odds are, if business owners are sitting at 53 or even 60 employees, that they’ll be scaling back, so this is a huge threat to our economy and if we have an opportunity to get rid of that altogether, we will and if we delay it for one year, the first time you delay something is the hardest.”
“If we can get enough bipartisan support, and we have this time — we’ve got 32 people to say they’ll delay it for one year,” he said. “Next year’s not going to be any better, we still won’t be ready for it, the numbers will still be the same, but the second time you bring it up for delay, it’s easier to get more people on board — 36 — because the same 32 will support it (the delay) again, and it may gain momentum.
“The same thing applies for the third year, until we can get him (Obama) out of office — that’s the strategy behind delaying implementation (of Obamacare), including the individual mandate,” he said. “If we can rid of the individual mandate, then basically what you have is a government-run program safe as Medicare— you’ve got very little going into it but you’ve got the president who’s still got Obamacare, and that’s a name he’s embraced.”
Regarding potential government shutdowns related to Obamacare, Mullin said the reports of this were “greatly exaggerated.”
“As far as defunding it and shutting down the government goes, that’s really been blown out of proportion,” he said. “Here’s what will probably happen: If it (Obamacare) falls apart under it’s own weight, it’s not going to shut down the government — we learned a lesson in ‘96 that didn’t work so well.
“So what you’ll probably wind up seeing is that we’re going to present a bill to the president which says we’re going to fund the government at its current spending level — that’s the key, at it’s current spending level,” he said. “Then we’ll carve out, not allow any extra funding for Obamacare. 
“Right now, Obamacare’s got the congressional budget office coming out saying it’ll cost $1.4 trillion of tax payer’s money. That’s the cost of it now,” Mullin said. “So if we fund it at government’s current level, that means we won’t have the extra revenue to set (funding) aside for Obamacare,” he said. “The Senate and the President will then have to choose between shutting down the government for a piece of legislation (Obamacare) that the American people — more than 66 percent of which dislike — or they’ll have to choose to delay it, which will mean they’ll most likely come out with a counter-offer to delay it for one year. 
“That’s the corner we’re going to put them in,” he said.
“Now if they should choose to shut (government) down, then we’ll have a bill right behind it saying we must have the essential roles of government open — social security, military, law enforcement, border security, etc.” he said. “What would probably be shut down would the EPA, maybe OSHA, some other areas that are on the outside, and what will happen then is states would go back into their roles of regulating certain areas of their own business, which they should do anyway.”
But an Obamacare-related government shut-down is “unlikely,” Mullin said. 
That, I doubt will happen,” he said. “What I think will happen is that the President will delay the passage (of Obamacare) — probably — and that’s what we’re hoping.”