(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday that changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act make it impossible to just repeal the health care law unless Congress has a replacement ready as well.
Speaking at a Rotary Club meeting in his Ohio district, the speaker also mocked members of his own GOP conference for not wanting to address immigration, knocked the tea party — or, more specifically, organizations that raise money purporting to represent the tea party — and expounded upon the role of money in education, according to a news report from a newspaper near his district.
On immigration, according to Cincinnati.com, Boehner gave his impersonation of the Republican refusal to take on the issue.
“Here’s the attitude. Ohhhh. Don’t make me do this. Ohhhh. This is too hard,” Boehner whined before a luncheon crowd at Brown’s Run County Club in Madison Township.
“We get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to. … They’ll take the path of least resistance.”
Boehner said he’s been working for 16 or 17 months trying to push Congress to deal with immigration reform.
“I’ve had every brick and bat and arrow shot at me over this issue just because I wanted to deal with it. I didn’t say it was going to be easy,” he said.
On health care, Boehner seemed to shift from the position that Congress could simply repeal Obamacare. He said a repeal “isn’t the answer.”
“When we were debating Obamacare in 2010 we offered an alternative that consisted of eight or nine points that would make our insurance system work a lot better.
(To) repeal Obamacare … isn’t the answer. The answer is repeal and replace. The challenge is that Obamacare is the law of the land. It is there and it has driven all types of changes in our health care delivery system. You can’t recreate an insurance market over night.
“Secondly, you’ve got the big hospital organizations buying up doctor’s groups because hospitals get reimbursed two or three times doctor’s do for the same procedure just because it’s a hospital. Those kinds of changes can’t be redone.”
On the tea party, Boehner said he had issues with organizations who purport to represent the tea party.
“There’s the tea party and then there are people who purport to represent the tea party.
“I’ve gone to hundreds of tea party events over the last four years. The makeup is pretty much the same. You’ve got some disaffected Republicans, disaffected Democrats. You always have a handful of anarchists.They are against everything. Eighty percent of the people at these events, are the most ordinary Americans you’ve ever met. None of whom have ever been involved in politics. We in public service respect the fact that they brought energy to the political process.
“I don’t have any issue with the tea party. I have issues with organizations in Washington who raise money purporting to represent the tea party, those organizations who are against a budget deal the president and I cut that will save $2.4 trillion over 10 years. They probably don’t know that total federal spending in each of the last two years has been reduced, the first time since 1950.
“They probably don’t realize that we protected 99 percent of the American people from an increase in their taxes. They were against that too, the same organizations. There are organizations in Washington that exist for the sheer purpose of raising money to line their own pockets.
“I made it pretty clear I’ll stand with the tea party but I’m not standing with these three or four groups in Washington who are using the tea party for their own personal benefit.”
Boehner, who is a former chairman of the committee that is now called Education and the Workforce, also offered his opinions on education policy and the controversial No Child Left Behind, which he helped draft.
“All we said with no child left behind is that we ought have expectations for what kids learn and we ought to publish test results so that we know who is learning and who isn’t.
“I don’t think the issue with education is money. If money were going to solve the education problem we would have solved it a long time ago. I think there is a structural problem. It’s not about our kids. Kids are in school 9 percent of the time between birth and age 18. That means 91 percent of the time they are home or they are out in their community. We have books. We have educational TV. We may go and visit places that help reinforce their education. Or they are out in the neighborhood or they are playing team sports or they are part of the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. They are involved in things that reinforce their education.
“But it you are poor and you go to a rotten school or live in a rotten neighborhood, you have no chance. You are probably not going to get the basics.