Tea Party darling Rep. Allen West (R-FL), the freshman congressman and outspoken critic of the Democratic Party and the Obama administration, has spoken out in favor of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform act that is mostly known to conservatives as "Obamacare."
In an interview with Think Progress, West said that the onus is on Republicans to come up with ways to mimic or replace some popular provisions of the Act, which was signed into law on March 23, 2010, including keeping young people on their parents' insurance plans until the age of 26, the elimination of "pre-existing conditions" as grounds for companies to decline coverage to customers, and the closure of the so-called "donut hole" in prescription drug benefits for senior citizens.
Think Progress reporter Scott Keyes asked West if he believes that insurance premiums would rise or fall if the health care reform plan were fully revoked as Republicans claim they want.
West replied, "Well you’ve got to replace it. You’ve got to replace it with something. If people want to keep their kid on their insurance at 26, fine. We’ve got to make sure no American gets turned back for pre-existing conditions, that’s fine. Keep the donut hole closed, that’s fine."
This position places West squarely at odds with House Republicans who are arguing that nothing short of a complete repeal of the act will do. After word leaked that a possible compromise was in the works last week, conservative activists pressured Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) into releasing a statement that House Republicans remain committed to repealing the ACA in its entirety.
“We voted to fully repeal the president’s health care law as one of our first acts as a new House majority," the Speaker said in his statement, "and our plan remains to repeal the law in its entirety. Anything short of that is unacceptable.”
West has made headlines before by publicly clashing with Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who he called "vile" and "not a lady," and, more recently, charging that the members of the House Progressive Caucus are card-carrying members of the Communist Party.
Watch video of West's interview with Talking Points Memo, embedded via YouTube, below:
(image via YouTube screen capture)