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Barr: GOP Not Giving Up On Healthcare, 'Bailouts' Not A Solution

Josh James

Sixth District Congressman Andy Barr says he’s an opponent of bailouts for any industry. The comments come as President Donald Trump mulls whether to eliminate healthcare subsidies which he described in a tweet as “bailouts.”

Over the weekend, Trump floated the idea of halting cost-sharing subsidies that help fund copayments and deductibles for low-income enrollees under the Affordable Care Act – and doing the same for subsidies received by lawmakers.

Democrats say the move is designed sabotage the Obama health law and negotiate by threat. Asked whether he backs the president’s strategy, Barr said: "I absolutely oppose bailouts for any industry. I don't think the taxpayers should be bailing out health insurance executives. That is not the solution."

Barr told participants at a Lexington listening session Monday that GOP health reform efforts aren’t dead, and he suspects Senate Republicans will be pressed to either act soon or after a two week break. The party had hoped to repeal and replace the ACA before tackling tax reform, but Barr said to watch for House action on the latter by Labor Day.

The instructions from party leaders: Make tax reform bold and make it permanent.

The three-term congressman appeared in Lexington as part of a U.S. Small Business Administration Regulatory Reform Roundtable, where local small business owners and representatives were invited to sound off on federal agencies that are "causing you trouble."

About 100 people were on hand to register their complaints about federal regulations – issues the SBA will take back to Washington as the Trump administration and Republican-led Congress target rules they say are overburdening business.

The theme of the comments: Congress passes one-size-fits-all regulations to combat the excesses of major banks and corporations, but winds up hurting smaller operations in the process.

"Whether it's the Department of Labor overtime rule, whether it is the Waters of the United States rule, whether it's Dodd-Frank, the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act... the takeaway was we have a lot of work to do in Washington to continue to roll back the regulations which cost the American economy annual almost $2 trillion dollars," Barr said.

Meanwhile, critics argue measures like the Financial Choice Act recently passed by the House – with Barr’s support – would gut banking reforms implemented after the financial crisis.

Barr told the SBA roundtable Congress needs to retake power from unelected bureaucrats who shape federal regulations.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.