A full repeal of the health care law is impossible, but a new Republican majority in Congress would work to dismantle key parts of the legislation, state Sen. Mick Mulvaney told a group of seniors Tuesday.
"What we're going to focus on is de-funding part of it, and then preventing the regulations from going in on other parts," the Indian Land Republican, who is challenging incumbent Democrat John Spratt of York for the 5th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House, told 60 residents at Park Pointe Village.
Spratt will speak at 2:30 p.m. today at the same Rock Hill senior living community.
Even if the House passed a repeal measure, Mulvaney said, it likely would fail in the Senate or face a veto from President Barack Obama.
A more realistic approach would be to block certain parts of the bill, Mulvaney said, such as a requirement that businesses submit 1099 tax forms and a plan to hire more IRS agents.
Under the legislation, all business payments or purchases that exceed $600 in a calendar year will need to be accompanied by a 1099 filing.
"My goal is to put off as much as possible until after 2012 so we can have a national debate," Mulvaney said.
Spratt voted in favor of the health care law, saying the legislation isn't perfect, but it offers important fixes for a broken system.
"If Mick wants to repeal the health care law," Spratt spokesman Nu Wexler said, "he'll eliminate coverage for children with pre-existing conditions, kick young adults off their parents' health care plans and reopen the Medicare doughnut hole for seniors.
"Mick's rhetoric is much less appealing to voters after they examine the specifics of it."
Mulvaney gave a general answer when asked about health care changes he would support. He said health coverage ought to be more like car insurance - in that customers can pick specific plans and examine costs up front.
"What's invariably going to happen is what we see in Massachusetts," he said. "They allowed all these people onto the health care system. Costs went through the roof."
About 190 seniors live at Park Pointe Village off S.C. 5 near Northwestern High School. The 66-acre campus includes apartments, villas, assisted living and a skilled care center.
Seniors express fears
As they waited for Mulvaney to arrive, seniors talked about their fears over the country's direction.
The government announced Friday that more than 58 million Social Security recipients will go through a second straight year without an increase in monthly benefits.
"We're not going to get a raise again this year," said Lucy Winterkamp, 80. "Fortunately, I am blessed. Fifteen dollars more a year is not going to make any difference for me. But my heart goes out to those (for whom) it does make a difference."
The national debt has become too great to even comprehend, said 89-year-old Nancy Dormand.
"In our era, who ever heard of a trillion dollars," Dormand said. "I don't even know how many zeroes that is."
Residents at Park Pointe lean heavily Republican, another senior said, which might explain why Mulvaney got an admiring reception.
The Indian Land legislator told listeners he wasn't optimistic about his chances when he entered the race last year. But anger over health care and other parts of the Obama agenda have created an opening.
"I expected to lose by 15 points," he said. "You just don't beat Mr. Spratt. ... Things have changed dramatically."