PHOENIX — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., spoke with News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac and Gaydos Thursday afternoon to talk about Obamacare and the fate of the Republican party.
Before getting into the HealthCare.gov disaster, McCain addressed the issue of everyone being able to keep their existing doctors or health care plans.
“If anybody believes that, I’ve got beachfront property for them in Arizona,” the senator quipped, despite President Barack Obama’s numerous assertions to the contrary.
Despite agreeing to keep the government open again until at least January, it’s not just Republicans who are unhappy with Obamacare.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is spearheading an effort to pass a one-year time-out from the Health Care Reform Law. While Graham is a Republican, McCain says many Democrats are already on board.
“There are some Democrats that are very, very uneasy that are up (for re-election) in 2014 and come from states that are very conservative; they’ve already joined up,” McCain said. “You couldn’t get an all-out total repeal, but they’re feeling the heat…we might, I emphasize might, be able to achieve that.”
McCain has been one of the many politicians to express his disgust and disappointment over the failed rollout of the health care website but characterized the technical failures as a metaphor for the current government as a whole.
“It’s gonna be fixed sooner or later, but isn’t this a commentary on government that they were using 1990s technology?” the 77-year-old senator said. “People that I’ve heard in Silicon Valley are just astounded that they couldn’t set up what is a relatively simple system.”
And what about Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the public face of Obamacare?
Sebelius was in Phoenix on Thursday, promoting the Affordable Care Act while many have called for her resignation.
McCain was reluctant to agree to such a drastic measure, and instead talked about taking a “wait and see” approach.
“I think she’s got to be held accountable and she needs to testify, which she has put off but will do next week, and then we need to make an assessment,” McCain said. “But in Washington, nobody is ever held accountable. That’s one of the problems with our approval ratings. But this (website) thing is really remarkable and it makes you question what other government programs have we got that are using 1990s technology?”
No one has been more frustrated at the website failure than President Obama, an added stress McCain said could have been avoided.
“I don’t know (if he knew about the glitches), but he should have. It’s his job. Somebody either should have told him or he should have asked,” McCain said. “I mean, my God, this is his signature legislature.”
Despite fighting against the shutdown and attempting to work with colleagues for a better approach, McCain is not blind to the trouble he and his fellow Congressional members face in upcoming elections.
“I think incumbents are in trouble, because I think Americans are sick and tired of seeing this gridlock. They don’t like government, particularly, but they sure as hell don’t want it shut down,” he explained.
McCain remained optimistic, though, believing the “out of control” government will ultimately help his party, if they all can work together.
“I think Republicans with our less government, lower taxes, less regulation…I think we can make a comeback, but we’ve got to give them (the public) a positive agenda.”
McCain said that agenda includes avoiding another shutdown in January.
“No government shutdown, because there would be a virtual uprising in America if they saw it happening again,” the senator said. “They’ll [Congress] try something else, but they won’t shut down the government. They can’t do that to the American people again.
“How many people are never going to get paid who are on minimum wage for that 17-day period? That’s terrible. We shouldn’t do that to people.”