WASHINGTON -- Few members of Congress want to repeal Obamacare more than Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who has considered introducing a bill to repeal everything President Barack Obama has signed into law. But there is a part of the Affordable Care Act that he does support: closing the "doughnut hole" in Medicare Part D.

Medicare Part D, which provides prescription drug coverage for seniors, was put into place by former President George W. Bush. The law, however, had a coverage gap: Once beneficiaries and their plans had paid a certain amount ($2,930 in 2012), the individual would be responsible for shouldering a heavier burden of the cost of their drugs. Once the cost of those drugs added up to $4,700, Medicare Part D coverage would kick in again.

The Affordable Care Act would gradually increase coverage within the doughnut hole, so that it's actually closed by 2020. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, seniors who fell into the doughnut hole saved an average of $641 in the first eight months of 2012.

King is a strong supporter of Medicare Part D and wants the doughnut hole to disappear. "It will haunt us until it's filled," he recently told The Messenger in Iowa.

But in 2011, King dismissed the importance of closing the doughnut hole in an interview with ThinkProgress. "I can’t imagine there being any seniors who have seen any benefits of Obamacare," he said, adding that filling the doughnut hole was "such a minor part of this whole picture."

"I’ve had no constituents come to me and say, 'It’s so good that the doughnut hole is closed,'" he added. "I haven’t heard that subject even brought up in six months. That is a talking point for the Obama administration, but it isn’t a significant piece of policy."

In June, he told reporters that not a single provision in the health care reform law should be left intact. "I don’t want to hear any talk from Republicans about preserving any aspect of it," he said. "It just dilutes the argument. It’s all or none."

And in July, he stressed to CBS News that he has been against the mantra of "repeal and replace" -- repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a GOP health care plan.

Essentially, King believes that the law should be struck down, then Congress should debate and vote upon each provision individually -- even ones that are already law and could be kept in place.

The congressman's office did not return a request for comment.

Other Republicans, who, like King, also want to see Obamacare fully repealed, have found provisions they support. Many members want to keep in place the ban on preexisting conditions and allow adult children to stay on their parents' health care plans until the age of 26.

The problem, however, with keeping the popular provisions -- especially the ban on preexisting conditions -- in place a la carte and repealing the most unpopular one -- the individual mandate that requires Americans to buy insurance -- is that health care companies are unlikely to go along with such a plan that requires them to shell out significantly more money without getting a larger pool of customers.

King is running in Iowa's new 4th Congressional District against Democrat Christie Vilsack. King, who is popular with the Tea Party, is leading Vilsack by single-digit percentage points in recent polls.


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  • 1912

    Former President Theodore Roosevelt champions national health insurance as he unsuccessfully tries to ride his progressive Bull Moose Party back to the White House. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

  • 1935

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt favors creating national health insurance amid the Great Depression but decides to push for Social Security first. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

  • 1942

    Roosevelt establishes wage and price controls during World War II. Businesses can't attract workers with higher pay so they compete through added benefits, including health insurance, which grows into a workplace perk. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • 1945

    President Harry Truman calls on Congress to create a national insurance program for those who pay voluntary fees. The American Medical Association denounces the idea as "socialized medicine" and it goes nowhere. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

  • 1960

    John F. Kennedy makes health care a major campaign issue but as president can't get a plan for the elderly through Congress. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

  • 1965

    President Lyndon B. Johnson's legendary arm-twisting and a Congress dominated by his fellow Democrats lead to creation of two landmark government health programs: Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 1974

    President Richard Nixon wants to require employers to cover their workers and create federal subsidies to help everyone else buy private insurance. The Watergate scandal intervenes. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

  • 1976

    President Jimmy Carter pushes a mandatory national health plan, but economic recession helps push it aside. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

  • 1986

    President Ronald Reagan signs COBRA, a requirement that employers let former workers stay on the company health plan for 18 months after leaving a job, with workers bearing the cost. (MIKE SARGENT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 1988

    Congress expands Medicare by adding a prescription drug benefit and catastrophic care coverage. It doesn't last long. Barraged by protests from older Americans upset about paying a tax to finance the additional coverage, Congress repeals the law the next year. (TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 1993

    President Bill Clinton puts first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in charge of developing what becomes a 1,300-page plan for universal coverage. It requires businesses to cover their workers and mandates that everyone have health insurance. The plan meets Republican opposition, divides Democrats and comes under a firestorm of lobbying from businesses and the health care industry. It dies in the Senate. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 1997

    Clinton signs bipartisan legislation creating a state-federal program to provide coverage for millions of children in families of modest means whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid. (JAMAL A. WILSON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2003

    President George W. Bush persuades Congress to add prescription drug coverage to Medicare in a major expansion of the program for older people. (STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2008

    Hillary Rodham Clinton promotes a sweeping health care plan in her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. She loses to Obama, who has a less comprehensive plan. (PAUL RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2009

    President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress spend an intense year ironing out legislation to require most companies to cover their workers; mandate that everyone have coverage or pay a fine; require insurance companies to accept all comers, regardless of any pre-existing conditions; and assist people who can't afford insurance. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • 2010

    With no Republican support, Congress passes the measure, designed to extend health care coverage to more than 30 million uninsured people. Republican opponents scorned the law as "Obamacare." (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

  • 2012

    On a campaign tour in the Midwest, Obama himself embraces the term "Obamacare" and says the law shows "I do care." (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)