There is no question that Rep. Ann Kuster is one of the strongest supporters of Obamacare in Washington. However, the Congresswoman has recently wavered on certain inconvenient provisions in the legislation — those that cost people money and actually pay for the law.
Since taking office in 2012, Kuster has vehemently supported Obamacare, despite thousands of policy cancelations in New Hampshire, significant premium hikes, and 10 New Hampshire hospitals now deemed "out of network."
And in a recent NHPR interview, Rep. Kuster admitted that had she been in Congress when Obamacare passed, she would have voted for it. Unfortunately, these positions are not surprising when coming from someone who described herself on NHPR this way: "I am, I would say, probably one of the strongest supporters of the President in the entire Congress."
But at least those sentiments from Congresswoman Kuster are transparent. The same cannot be said of her apparent desire to confuse her constituents about how and when Obamacare will actually be paid for.
For example, Rep. Kuster recently released a statement applauding the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), claiming that she is "extremely relieved that CMS took my advice and reversed its previous scheduled plan to reduce payments to Medicare Advantage." What Rep. Kuster won't tell our senior citizens is that these cuts will still have to occur unless Congress can find a new way to pay for a vast portion of the law — an unlikely scenario, to say the least. In reality, this action simply delays the inevitable, putting off the cuts until Kuster is once again firmly ensconced in her congressional seat in Washington, or so she hopes.
This isn't the first time Rep. Kuster has changed course and supported delays to inconvenient parts of Obamacare, though only at politically convenient times. She has also supported delays to both the individual and business mandates so that neither of those mandates totally takes effect until after the coming elections in November.
While avoiding broad cuts to seniors' Medicare and eliminating unprecedented mandates on Americans are ideas I fully support, I also know that it is impossible to pay for Obamacare if these provisions are forever delayed by legislators who don't want to pay for the law during their own tenures on Capitol Hill. At this rate, it looks like Obamacare will simply become yet another law that its makers refuse to pay for while still in office.
But Obamacare is an abnormally expensive can that we cannot kick down the road for long. If Ann Kuster and her friends in Washington insist that the law must exist, then clearly someone has to pay for it. This is Government 101 — a course that too many of our federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill seem to have foregone or forgotten.
Ann Kuster is well aware of this fact. But she finally noticed that the majority of New Hampshire voters oppose Obamacare and that her steadfast support for the law could be her undoing come November. It appears that Kuster clearly wants to eat her Obamacare cake and have it too — especially if no one has to pay for it until after she is safely reelected come November.
New Hampshire deserves leaders who are not only transparent, but who carefully consider and defend the interests of New Hampshire citizens both now and in the long term. At a bare minimum, our elected officials should not pursue policies that hurt the people they represent, only to make adjustments later when they fear the consequences will hurt their career aspirations or chance at reelection. We can do better.
State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, R-Salem, is running for the Republican nomination for Congress in the 2nd District.