Upton still in favor of delaying Affordable Care ActPublished 4:52pm Wednesday, October 2, 2013
On the second day of the federal government shutdown, Congressman Fred Upton maintains it is a bad idea for Republicans to include in any new spending bill provisions that would defund the Affordable Care Act.
“I said from the start that this was a lousy idea,” said Upton, R-St. Joseph, in a telephone interview Wednesday. “The chances of the president signing into law a bill that would repeal Obamacare is about as likely as former President Reagan signing a bill to disarm the United States military — it’s not going to happen.”
While Upton believes it is unproductive to ask for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, he is in favor of delaying it.
On Monday, Upton was one of 228 other representatives who voted to tie the spending bill to a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act.
The plan passed 228-201, helping lead to the government shutdown — the first since 1995.
“I think a delay would help,” Upton said. “There are some people that want it to sink on its own, but I am one that says let’s delay it for a year and figure out what parts we can fix to try and make it better.
“It really isn’t ready for prime time and there really is a lot of uncertainly across the country — whether you are a small business or an employee — about how to participate in a system that is not ready.”
When asked what he is doing to help end the shutdown, Upton said he is maintaining regular business hours at his offices, one in Washington, St. Joseph and Kalamazoo. Upton, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, also said his committee is working on legislation that could be part of a settlement.
Upton remains hopeful that both sides can come to an agreement.
“It’s a mess. No question about it,” Upton said. “At the end of the day something has to happen and I look forward to being a constructive player in that process.
“We are anticipating we will be in at least at this point for sure until Saturday — although nothing is official yet. We are not going home until this is resolved and nor should we.”
In the meantime, Upton said he is working on taking care of people most impacted by the shutdown. For instance, he said he is helping work on a bill that would add back funding for the Veterans Association, National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute, among others.
“Let’s face it, this is a real life or death situation for those folks,” Upton said. “There is no reason they should be denied care no matter how long this shutdown goes, whether it ends today or next week.”
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