A few weeks ago, I sat down with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and asked him about the future of the Affordable Care Act.
I thought, I’m going to ask you a question that’s really hard to answer.
But I figured, maybe we could talk about it?
In the course of our conversation, Chaffetz shared his thoughts on the future and his desire to get to yes on the Affordable Health Care Act, as well as the ways that he believes the ACA is helping the country.
Chaffets comments and the transcript below are lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
Q: So, first off, I know you’re very optimistic about the ACA.
How can we take this optimistic outlook and push through the repeal and replace of the ACA?
A: Well, I think that the Republicans have been very patient.
I think they’ve been waiting for us to do something.
But the Republicans are very patient, too.
They know that if we go forward with the repeal, if we repeal the ACA, it will be a very unpopular and very disruptive bill.
But they also know that they are going to lose their majority.
So, they’re waiting for the Democrats to go in and repeal the legislation, too, because that would cause the same level of anger among their constituents, which I think would be a disaster for the Republicans.
So they’re very patient with the Democrats and the House.
They’re very cautious about the Senate because the Senate is so far behind.
I don’t know if they’re really confident that they can pass the bill through the Senate, but they’re cautious and they’re going to wait until we have the Senate act.
Q, but why do you think it will take two years to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act?
A, Well, in a lot of ways, it’s very difficult to repeal.
Because of the law, it has to be enacted and signed by a President and a Vice President.
So you have to have the signature from both of those people.
And it’s also very expensive to repeal, because if you repeal the law and it’s not passed, then the next president has to take it off the books.
So it’s a very difficult thing to do.
But if you do repeal the statute, will the law stay in place?
If you repeal it, you have a huge impact on the way that the insurance industry will operate in the United States.
You have a very large amount of money that goes to hospitals and doctors, which you can’t actually spend on new patient enrollment because of the Medicaid expansion.
And then there are all of these other things.
So I think it’s going to take two or three years to actually repeal.
Q.: You’ve said that the Republican party has been patient and waiting for you to do the right thing.
Can you share your thoughts on that?
A- I think there is a lot that we can learn from the Republicans because they’ve not been patient with us.
I mean, I have a lot to say about that.
But again, I’ve been a member of the House for 25 years, and I’ve worked with some of the most progressive members of the Congress.
I have no doubt that they will do what they want to do, because they are conservative.
And I think the American people, if they are willing to take on the most powerful people in the world, they will support us.
And we are going, I hope, to be a strong voice in the fight for freedom.
Q (Chaffetts tone)You said that you were going to go back to Washington, D.C. and push forward on this issue.
How much do you still have to push?
A– I think, you know, we’ve talked a lot about it.
And so I think we have to be patient.
And as we move forward, I don�t think we should be too aggressive.
I know there are a lot people who want to get rid of this bill, and they have a point of view that I can’t agree with, but that�s what I think about it as well.
And, you can see that on the floor, and that�ll be the case if we don�ts do anything.
I�m very patient about that and that is a point I’ve talked to many of the members.
Q– I understand you were talking about how you think the health insurance industry needs to stay in the marketplace, and you’re pushing for a replacement plan.
Are you willing to compromise?
A I think what we�ve talked about in the past is, if you�re going to repeal it and then you repeal Medicaid, then you�ll have a problem.
And the people who are going into the exchanges will be in an awful place because the insurance companies will be leaving the exchanges, because there is no one left.
And they will have