Former Rep. Doug Ose said he would repeal and replace the federal health care overhaul with a system that rewards healthy behavior and "puts the decision-making between a patient and a doctor."
"Obamacare offers options to consumers that essentially say you're going to take this, or this, or this, or this, and within those four options some of the services are available and some of them aren't," Ose told The Sacramento Bee editorial board on Wednesday.
He said too many individuals and families are losing their preferred doctors and the law does not provide incentives for people to live healthy lifestyles. Premium pricing, for example, does not differentiate between regular smokers or people who are overweight.
"I think that's a fundamentally flawed approach," Ose said. "Why should those of us who have made the right decision of not smoking or taking care of ourselves subsidize bad physical or bad health behavior in others?"
Asked about smokers and unhealthy people who may not be able to afford the higher monthly costs, he said "maybe they should stop smoking so they can - instead of spending their money on $8 packs of cigarettes." Ose did applaud Democrats for insisting those with preexisting health conditions not be denied coverage.
The health care law has been a key wedge issue heading into the midterm elections, with Ose and fellow Republicans Igor Birman and Elizabeth Emken using President Barack Obama's signature legislative effort to attack freshman Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove.
Bera maintains he would have done things differently, but now that the law has been upheld by the courts and provided insurance for millions, lawmakers should make targeted fixes rather than scrap the new system entirely.
In the interview, Ose cast himself as the best fit for the district, saying he is the only candidate who went to kindergarten there. He also noted his opposition to the state's $68 billion high-speed rail system that endeavors to link Northern and Southern California, calling it a "boondoggle" and promising to unravel federal funding for the project.
"I would go to the appropriators and say we don't need to spend any federal money on high-speed rail in California," Ose said. Instead, he suggested "literally buy(ing) everybody lifetime passes on the airlines, or the Greyhound bus."
PHOTO: Congressional candidate Doug Ose speaking at a the Arden Arcade Rotary Club luncheon at Ruth's Chris Steak House on March 18 in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee/Renee C. Byer