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Exclusive–Mike Braun on GOP Health Care Failures: ‘We’ve Been Apologists for the Health Care Industry’

Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun thanks supporters after winning the republican primary in Whitestown, Ind., Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Braun faced Todd Rokita and Luke Messer in the Republican primary race. Braun advances to a November matchup with Democrat Joe Donnelly, who is considered one of the Senate's most vulnerable …
AP/Michael Conroy
SEAN MORAN

Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview Thursday that Republicans have failed to stop Obamacare’s passage and repeal Obamacare because the GOP has often been “apologists for the health care industry” and benefitted from the health care “gravy-train.” Braun said that Republicans have also failed to present a true alternative to Obamacare and Medicare for All.

Sen. Braun, a populist freshmen senator and businessman, spoke with Breitbart News in an extensive interview about Republicans’ failure to present an alternative to Obamacare and Medicare for All, how the healthcare industry has become increasingly concentrated, and his proposals to fix the health care industry.

Braun’s interview arises as President Donald Trump promised this week that the Republican Party will become the party of “health care.” The Department of Justice announced Monday that it would side with a ruling from a Texas judge invalidating Obamacare, which would eliminate the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Braun largely blamed Republicans for failing to present a credible alternative to Obamacare–Obama’s signature legislation– as to why the landmark healthcare legislation passed through Congress.

The Hoosier Republican contended that the Republicans’ failure on both preventing Obamacare’s passage and its repeal results around that Republicans did not want to get off the healthcare “gravy-train,” and have become “apologists” for the industry.

“I think it all originated because we have been apologists for the health care industry,” Braun said. “I think was a mistake from the get-go, they were the problem for me ten years ago trying to provide good coverage for my employees and it was like pulling teeth getting people to work at cost and be sustainable.”

“I think Republicans have been in a difficult spot to where they have gone along with what the health care industry has wanted them to do which is hands-off because they have a gravy-train where they there’s no competition and lack of transparency and when Obamacare came along that was again the result of Democrats grabbing the issue and we defaulted on it,” Braun continued.

Republicans also failed to repeal Obamacare after winning in the 2016 election which gave them control of the White House, the Senate, and the House. Former House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Obamacare repeal proposal– the American Health Care Act (AHCA)– failed to pass through the House because conservatives believed the bill did not do enough to repeal Obamacare. The legislation only passed through the House after House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and then-Tuesday Group co-chairman and former Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) negotiated a revised AHCA.

The GOP also failed to garner enough support in the Senate to pass the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare block-grant repeal proposal. After Republicans failed attempts to repeal Obamacare, many House Republicans faced incessant attacks from their Democrat challengers ahead of the 2018 midterms alleging they were trying to repeal ACA protections for pre-existing conditions–the AHCA and Graham-Cassidy kept protections for pre-existing conditions–but failed to defend their Republican vision for American health care, or lack thereof.

Now that the Mueller report revealed that Trump did not collude with the Russian government, Braun said Democrats have pivoted back to health care. The Hoosier senator advised that Republicans should not maintain a “low-profile” in the public discourse about the future of healthcare reform.

Sen. Braun said, “It [Obamacare] was doomed to fail because it was big government in cahoots with big health care. That doesn’t mean that we should go back into keeping a low-profile because the Democrats will snatch that issue from us again. And you can see it since the Mueller report came out, what are they talking about? Health care, because it’s the biggest issue out there.”

The senator said he hopes that conservatives and President Trump can bring “home” the issue of health care even though many GOP lawmakers move at a “much slower timeframe than the urgency demands.”

Sen. Braun said that Republicans can only become the party of health care when they take a completely “fresh look at things,” often with new lawmakers such as Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) where they can lower costs for government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid but also private health insurance. 

The Hoosier Republican also said that Republicans need to present a viable and credible vision ahead of the 2020 elections to the American people or Democrats will win on health care.

“We as Republicans need to force the conversation onto the industry’s back. And if not, we’re going to be left holding the bag in 2020 to where they’re going to say that all we were focused on was repeal and had nothing to talk about in terms of how to fix the system. They’ll win and I would hate to see that,” Braun said.

“We’re at a critical point where if we as conservatives don’t get the issue right, it will default to where the Democrats will painlessly win with Medicare for All, and then we’ll all regret it once it’s happens,” Sen. Braun added.

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