Republicans do not like Obamacare. But they are less agreed on what to do about it.
Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun is out with a web ad attacking Republican Georgia Congressman and fellow Georgia Senate hopeful Jack Kingston for wanting to fix Obamacare, rather than replace it outright.
“Jack Kingston wants to fix Obamacare,” Broun says in the web ad. “He voted to fund it and now he’s trying to fix it. I think that’s wrong. As a doctor, I know that Obamacare is hurting Georgia families.”
“I don’t want to fix Obamacare,” Broun goes on. “I want to get rid of it. I’m the only candidate for the U.S. Senate who has consistently fought to fully repeal Obamacare. That’s the difference in this campaign.”
Broun leveled a similar attack against Kingston earlier this week on Fox Business.
Broun and Kingston competing in a crowded Republican primary for the open Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
The vote Broun is referring to, according to a footnote in the ad, took place in 2012, when Kingston was one of 165 Republicans to vote in favor of a government funding bill, which was necessary to keep the government from shutting down, and which also funded parts of Obamacare. This year, when the government partially shut down over funding the healthcare law, Kingston voted against the the funding bill that finally did reopen the government.
Kingston called Broun’s attack “absurd.”
“While this is rightly an emotional issue, the suggestion that I have ‘surrendered’ on repealing Obamacare is absurd,” he said in a statement to The Daily Caller after the Fox Business attack but before the ad was released. He added that he had voted multiple times “to repeal and replace this disastrous law,” as well as working on provisions to protect businesses and individuals from his effects and to defund it.
“I not only voted to ensure Congress was subject to Obamacare but have introduced a bill that would require the President, Vice President, and all political appointees to get their health care through the exchanges. If Washington wants to force something on the American people, then we need to force it on Washington as well,” Kingston added.
“If we are going to win, conservatives must shape the debate. We must be creative and put forward ideas that can gain traction. Every time we repeal or defund a portion of the law, we undermine its long-term survival,” he said.
“Many want to sit back and hope Obamacare falls off the cliff. I believe we have to be there to push it over the edge,” Kingston concluded.
Asked for comment, National Republican Senatorial Committee press secretary Brook Hogueson said: “For years, Republicans have consistently offered ObamaCare alternatives and fixes, like the Medical Device tax repeal. In all, the party has offered about 200 proposals on healthcare. Republicans still support repealing ObamaCare and replacing ObamaCare with more workable, affordable, and patient centered improvements to the system.”
Speaking to TheDC by phone on Thursday after the ad was released,* Kingston reiterated his conservative, anti-Obama credentials.
“As the only member of congress that has voted to include congress under Obamacare, I don’t think I need to have my credentials questioned by somebody for political purposes,” he said.
On the other hand, Kingston said, the ad was kind of “flattery.”
“I think you don’t attack the person who’s in last place,” he said, adding: “They must be reading some polls that scare them.”
*This post has been updated with further comments from Kingston.