Exclusive: Rep. Scott DesJarlais Calls for Full Repeal of Obamacare: ‘The Moment To Act Is Right Now’

Tennessee Star

In a press release issued Thursday, Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) said “We should keep our promises, not retreat when the moment to act is right now” and fully repeal Obamacare.

DesJarlais supports the parliamentary procedure being used by the House Freedom Caucus to force a vote on the House floor to repeal Obamacare.

The House Freedom Caucus announced a “discharge petition,” as DesJarlais explained in an exclusive interview with The Tennessee Star, “generally a tool of the minority” that allows legislation to bypass the committee system for a vote by the full House.

DesJarlais continued,

Almost every Republican in the House has voted over 50 times to repeal Obamacare, including the legislation from 2015 that both the House and Senate passed and Obama vetoed it.

Trump has said if we send that same legislation to him, he will sign it.

Now all of a sudden we have a group of Republicans that don’t mean what they said and don’t want to vote for a clean repeal.

Demonstrating his personal commitment and work toward gaining House Republican support for the full repeal, DesJarlais said, “I was asking dozens of members yesterday whether they would vote for a clean repeal, and almost unanimously they would say yes.”

The discharge petition, last used successfully in the previous Congress when 40 Republicans joined at that time with Democrats to revise the Ex-Im Bank, requires 218 signatures and likely won’t get any Democratic support.

Allowing Obamacare to collapse on its own will still require an eventual repeal, so DesJarlais favors doing it now with this bill that “has a provision for a two-year transition …  What that does is give us the opportunity to implement insurance across state lines, tort reforms, HSA accounts, reform Medicaid.”

“The liberal media wants to talk about who may or may not lose their insurance two or three or four years down the road, I’m worried about the people now that are in danger because of the high cost and the inefficiency of Obamacare,” said DesJarlais, continuing,

I think that if you can get past the media hysteria of the dangers of any of these Republican plans and talk to hard-working Americans, you’ll see that their health is in jeopardy now, because they can’t afford either their premiums and/or their deductibles and co-pays so they’re not going to get medical treatment when they need it.

“The people on Medicaid should be supporting Republicans more than ever, because they were sold a bill of goods,” DesJarlais said, speaking passionately about “a half million people right now, women and children, who are sick and can’t get Medicaid because the funding was taken up” by able-bodied people who took advantage of the unsustainable Medicaid expansion program’s increased poverty level rather than the available subsidies.”   DesJarlais added, “That’s got to be fixed,” through a work requirement, and “almost all the country — 80-plus percent agree — that if you’re able to work, you should.”

Himself a doctor, DesJarlais, expressed the urgency of controlling the rising price of health care brought on by taking out competition with “a government program and endless government money” and “Congress voting whatever funding they need to bail out insurance companies or failing programs, then the prices naturally go up.”

DesJarlais concluded, “If we go back to a free market health care system where people have choices and can choose what they want, that’s going to bring the competition back in and that’s going to bring prices down.”

The full text of Congressman DesJarlais’ press release can be read here:


At a press conference in the Capitol last night, Congressman Scott DesJarlais, M.D., and the Freedom Caucus — a group of conservative House members — announced their introduction of a “discharge petition” to force a vote on the full Obamacare repeal Republicans approved and delivered to President Obama in 2015, although he vetoed the bill.

President Trump has said he would sign a full repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to enact other reforms to save the private health insurance market, where costs have been rising by a double-digit percentage year after year.

The discharge petition is a parliamentary procedure to move the repeal bill from the relevant committee to the House floor, where Rep. DesJarlais explained, Republicans who previously voted for it should have no excuse.  “The only thing that’s changed is that the health care situation is worse.  More federal co-ops have collapsed.  More state exchanges have crumbled.

Premiums and deductibles have risen even further, leaving more Americans without health insurance, in some cases their jobs and livelihoods.  Obamacare is a strain on the economy, costing Tennesseans wages and benefits, said the Tennessee Congressman.  His home state has experienced some of the worst effects.

However, we have a Republican President and Congress, our best opportunity to save health care in this country, where the vast majority liked their coverage and care before Obamacare.  Insurance sales across state lines, generic drugs, tort reform, health savings accounts, high-risk pools and other free-market local solutions would do what Obamacare has not:  increase choice, affordability and health care quality,” added Rep. DesJarlais, a doctor.

“We should keep our promises, not retreat when the moment to act is right now.”

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