Congress' newest member talks health care


McClatchy Washington Bureau

Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., Congress' newest member, talked about his hopes for the Affordable Care Act Friday--and offered some ideas to change it.

Jolly won a surprising victory in Florida's special congressional election Tuesday, and his opposition to the act was seen as a key reason why. But he emphasized on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program he wasn't just a naysayer.

"I would say for Republicans, you know, that is an important lesson to hold on to. I had the opportunity over five months to talk about specific solutions. We can't you just be the party of no, so I laid out three or four alternatives," Jolly said.

"And the reason why is I wanted to draw the contrast to what the real issue is here. This is a big government, small government debate. You know, Republicans and Democrats, we have this debate all the time."

One reason the health care law has played well for many Republicans is what it represents. "People see Obamacare as big government in their lives. It changes the role of government in their lives. That is what is resonating," Jolly said.

"What also is resonating is, as I said earlier, we can't be the party of no. So this was a local race. This was a very local race. What Ms. Pelosi said about Republicans just chanting repeal, that was never our message in this race. We had a very constructive dialogue on this issue."

Among his ideas: "The concept of a true less government solution, which is a concept of term health insurance. We have term life insurance. Let's talk about less government, allowing somebody to purchase a policy portable across state lines. Reduce regulations on employers. Let them simply reimburse it. Term life insurance can't be canceled if you have an intervening health event. Those are less government solutions."

Jolly was realistic about his impact.

"Now, listen, I'm number 435 out of 435 this morning. I don't think the president of the United States is going to negotiate with me on his signature legislative achievement," he said.

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