Sen. Angus King: 'There's No Such Thing As Obamacare'

By Susan Jones | March 31, 2014 | 5:28am EDT

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) (AP Photo)

( - Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) says Americans want the Affordable Care Act to be fixed, not repealed -- and he's joined five Democrats in proposing a fix.

He also refuses to call it "Obamacare."

"You know, there's no such thing as Obamacare," King told Fox News Sunday. "You can't sign up for 'Obamacare.' You sign up for an Anthem policy or an Aetna policy or a WellPoint policy. It's private insurance," he said.

The law dubbed Obamacare does set minimum standards for health insurance and it compels Americans to buy insurance -- some of it taxpayer-subsidized -- or else pay a penalty. Even President Obama has called the new, government-dictated health insurance system "Obamacare."

Sen. King wants to change the law to provide greater choice and affordability.

Among other things, he is proposing that the health care exchanges offer a new "Copper Plan," which would cost less than the current Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze options -- but have a  higher deductible. He also wants to exempt companies with up to 99 workers (instead of the current 50) from the so-called employer mandate -- the requirement that they provide affordable insurance that meets certain minimum coverage standards.

"I've never seen a piece of legislation yet that was perfect," King told Fox News's Chris Wallace. " In fact, the United States Constitution, probably the most perfect piece of legislation ever devised by the mind of man, has been amended 27 times. I think it's time to try to fix it. And in fact, that's what the public wants."

Wallace noted that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he's not going to allow a vote on the proposed changes.

"I'm going to be talking to Harry tomorrow (Monday), you know. Maybe we can make him change his mind," King said.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday with King, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said the fixes proposed by King won't help: "What Angus is offering in his legislation only nibbles around the edges. It doesn't get to the fundamental flaws of the president's health care law. The Democrats are unnerved. They have pushed the panic button. The president says it is working; it is broken. And people say, can you fix it? I've looked at this 10 different ways, Chris. This health care law is not fixable."

Barrasso said Americans wanted health care reform "so they could get the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower cost. And what we see is -- even those signing up are finding out -- many of them are seeing higher premiums, can't keep their doctor, can't keep their hospital."

Barrasso noted that in New Hampshire, right next to King's home state of Maine, "10 of the 28 hospitals are excluded from all the exchanges in New Hampshire. In Senator King's own state, the most popular individual market plan prior to this is now not able to be sold anymore because it didn't meet the Obamacare standards. So those are concerns that I hear about every weekend. So what we're seeing now are kind of politicians trying to save their political careers instead of focusing on patient care."

Barrasso wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act "and replace it with real reform that gives people better access to quality, affordable health care, the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower costs.”

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