Health decision "most pivotal issue of our time" insists King

Simply put, the House of Representatives' vote this week to repeal the President's health care law is more than just a politics, "This is the most pivotal issue of our time," said conservative Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa. "It is a destiny issue. If the federal government has the authority - it must be repealed" he said.

King told CBS News's Nancy Cordes in an interview for "Face to Face" that the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the constitutionality of the law means Congress has to act. "It's a different dynamic now. And the public understands if they are going to be relieved of this onerous, unaffordable health care bill that is the president's bill, the only way now is the elections in November," he said. The vote, passed by 244 Representatives - 239 Republicans and 5 Democrats, was the 33rd vote by a CBS News count of House votes to repeal, defund or replace parts of the health care reform law.

The Court's decision, he said, gave new powers to Congress. "The Supreme Court has conferred upon the Congress the power to coerce behavior. Not alone levy a tax with an interest and a penalty against someone for failing to buy the insurance policy that's either produced or approved by the federal government. But that's opened up the door to all kinds of behavior control. The judges talked about, almost as adding it into their verbiage, broccoli. If they can require you to buy insurance or tax you if they don't, can they tax you if you don't buy broccoli? Yes, that principle is laid out pretty clearly. Can they force you to buy an electric car, for example? Where does this end?" he asked.

The power to "coerce behavior" is "a super power that we should not have in the United States Congress," he said.

But unlike other Republicans who have embraced replacing the law as part of the strategy to "repeal and replace," King argues that repeal alone must be the main priority.

"We can agree on repeal. But when you start arguing on the replacement, someone will say, well I have this tight little bill that does three things and that should be the replacement. And will you sign on to that? And that next person says but I've got my components. Add those to it then I'll sign on. This goes on over and over again. After a while you get a 2,700 page bill and the first person will say I can't support it anymore. It gets too complicated to put together the replacement package and tie it to the repeal," he said. "And what I have strongly advocated for is, first win the argument on repeal - a full 100 percent repeal, pull it all out. Then the replacement components should not be - I emphatically say - should not be one big Republican bill but individual components debated individually as stand-alone bills, one at a time so the American people can embrace these ideas, support them, and pass them out one at a time over to the senate and to the president's desk," added the 5-term Congressman who in the middle of a competitive re-election campaign.

King says one thing Republicans should do is allow health insurance to be sold across state lines, "so that that is left of what we had was thirteen hundred health insurance companies in America, one hundred thousand policy varieties - let that competition go out into the open market among the fifty states that will do a lot," he said. Expanding health savings accounts is another prescription King and many Republicans would administer.

Republicans cast the vote in the House knowing that the Democratic-controlled Senate wouldn't go along. King says it's time for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to call for another repeal vote as well.

"I'd like to see Harry Reid take the full repeal up on the floor of the senate, I'd challenge him to do that and I think there are a couple of Democrats that might likely want to join us on that, there are twenty three of them that are up for re-election so I would say this, if Harry Reid doesn't bring up the repeal--last time he brought it up to vote it down, forty seven Republicans voted to repeal Obamacare, if he brings it up again that'll be because he has the votes to kill it, if he doesn't bring it up, that'll tell you that there are likely going to be about four democrats that will support the full repeal in the Senate to save their seats in the United States Senate," he said.

  • Robert Hendin On Twitter»

    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.

Comments

Follow Us

Face on Twitter