GOP congressman: It would be irresponsible to let Obamacare fail

Rep. Jack Kingston says he's focused on improving healthcare -- not just repealing Obamacare

Published November 26, 2013 7:30PM (EST)

Jack Kingston       (AP/Ric Feld)
Jack Kingston (AP/Ric Feld)

In a radio interview on Monday, Georgia Republican congressman Jack Kingston deviated from Republican Party orthodoxy and argued that simply standing pat and watching Obamacare crumble would not be the "responsible" thing to do.

Kingston made his argument while defending his Small Business Fairness in Obamacare Act, a bill that would exempt some businesses with more than 50 employees from Obamacare's employer mandate. Some conservatives, Kingston said, have criticized the bill for aiming to improve — rather than simply repeal — Obamacare.

"And there’s some criticism, 'Well, are you helping improve this law when you make that change? And should we be doing that?'" Kingston said. "A lot of conservatives say, 'Nah, let’s just step back and let this thing fall to pieces on its own.' But I don’t think that’s always the responsible thing to do."

"I think we need to be looking for things that improve healthcare overall for all of us. And if there is something in Obamacare, we need to know about it. If you get a lot of letters that say, 'Hey, back off, it works. I have a special needs child and here's why it's been good for me,' we want to listen to that," Kingston said.

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A Kingston spokesman, Chris Crawford, said in an email to The Hill that Kingston was advocating for a replacement for the law in his interview.

"He essentially said that we don't just need to wait for Obamacare to die under its own weight, we need to be looking for solutions that would replace it," he said.

Kingston has repeatedly voted to repeal ObamaCare, and supported the government shutdown strategy that was pushed by conservatives to defund the law.

But his comments come in stark contrast to the stated strategy of Republicans that has emerged in recent weeks, which is to let the law fail in order to build momentum behind the party's effort to repeal it.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

MORE FROM Elias Isquith

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Gop Jack Kingston Obamacare Republican Party Small Business Fairness In Obamacare Act The Hill