In the aftermath of a contentious debate concerning the U.S. government's debt and an elevation of the government debt ceiling, Congressman Raul Labrador said those issues got lost with the media incorrectly focusing on some Republicans wanting to defund Obamacare.
The congressman also said the state should have waited a year before signing on to a state insurance exchange.
"This fight (about the federal debt) got lost in the media, where it became something about Republicans only voting to defund Obamacare, Republicans only voting to completely gut Obamacare," he told IdahoReporter.com in an exclusive interview. "That was unrealistic."
Noting that he was part of a segment of the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives advocating for a one-year federal funding bill, along with a one-year "delay" in the implementation of the federal Obamacare law, Labrador explained that "as Republicans, we were not united in the messaging."
Labrador also spoke about Obamacare's impact on Idaho, specifically, and the fact that Gov. Butch Otter is laying blame for the failures of Idaho's health insurance exchange on the federal government.
"People like myself warned the state Legislature that it was a mistake for them to be getting involved with Obamacare before it was a proven work," he said. "I think they should have waited. I agree with the governor, it is the federal government's fault. The issue is that the state Legislature decided to engage in this federal program and do a state exchange when the program was not ready for prime time. I think that was a mistake.”
Labrador continued: “It is unfortunate, and the people of Idaho are going to have to live with it. I hope the Legislature will look at what needs to be done to fix it. It would have been much wiser to wait a year and see if Obamacare was working and if the state exchanges were working, and, as we can see, they are not working. "
Labrador also spoke candidly about the harsh realities of the national government debt, realities that in his view, Idahoans need to face. "Many times I'm in my town hall meetings, and people tell me 'I want to do something about the debt, but hands off my Medicare and my Medicaid.' And I just flinch, and I think, 'You realize that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are the drivers of our debt?’”
To listen to Congressman Labrador's complete remarks, click HERE.