Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) denounced the Affordable Care Act and its health insurance exchanges on Saturday, calling instead for a "market-oriented" alternative in line with what many in his party support.
"We've created a monstrosity of consolidating power in Washington, D.C., suppressing wages, making it uncertain for investment. In fact, the greatest job suppressor in the so-called recovery that we've gone through is Obamacare. And I think replacing Obamacare with a market-oriented approach -- that is, where local and state input starts to drive the policies away from this top-down system" is something the country ought to be doing, Bush said at the Iowa Ag Summit, a forum on agriculture issues that also drew several other would-be presidential hopefuls.
Republicans have been promising an Obamacare alternative for years, without any success in coalescing around a single proposal in Congress or on the campaign trail. The latest measure, drawn up by three House Republicans -- Paul Ryan (Wis.), John Kline (Minn.) and Fred Upton (Mich.) -- promises to offer some type of temporary relief should the Supreme Court decide to strike down subsidies provided to state insurance exchanges later this summer.
In his remarks in Iowa, Bush endorsed the idea of a government-sponsored safety net for people who don't have insurance.
"The effort by the state, by the government, ought to be to try to create catastrophic coverage, where ... if you have a hardship that goes way beyond your means of paying for it, that you have -- the government is there or an entity is there to help you deal with that," he said.
Bush's criticism of Obamacare as "the greatest job suppressor in the so-called recovery" is interesting, given that the country is experiencing the greatest period of job growth in two decades. On Friday, the Labor Department announced that the economy gained 295,000 more jobs in February, ticking the unemployment rate down to 5.5 percent.
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