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Tea party alienating big business: AutoNation CEO

The tea party overplayed an impossible position when it tried to recently delay Obamacare as a condition to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, AutoNation Chairman and CEO Mike Jackson told CNBC on Thursday.

While no fan of Obamacare, he said in a "Squawk Box" interview, "It would be like if you're playing a game of poker and you know you have a losing hand and you push all the chips on the table, that's just stupid or crazy—neither of which are very good."

"It was not the finest moment for the Republican Party," Jackson added. "Business is genuinely reflecting on whether they're enablers of this dysfunction and whether we really have to be more supportive of the center of the spectrum whether it's Democratic and Republican."

(Read more: GOP's McConnell faces tea party primary challenge)

AutoNation dealers did experience "some difficulties" in September going into the 16-day government shutdown earlier this month, he added. The temporary deals that reopened the government and increased the debt ceiling run until Jan. 15 and Feb. 7, respectively.

Meanwhile, AutoNation announced Thursday that the company earned 75 cents a share in the third quarter—2 cents below expectations. But revenue of $4.47 billion was better than Wall Street consensus estimates.

"Definitely the pause button was hit out there in America. But we fully expect to get that [shutdown slowdown] behind us," Jackson told CNBC.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks about the error-plagued launch of the Affordable Care Act's online enrollment in the Rose Garden of the White House.
Getty Images
President Barack Obama delivers remarks about the error-plagued launch of the Affordable Care Act's online enrollment in the Rose Garden of the White House.

As for Obamacare, "they probably should have postponed the entire thing for a year, because they're simply not ready," he said. "The complexity and the requirements to meet the standards are absolutely mind-boggling."

Technology problems are hindering sign-up on Healthcare.gov—the federally operated online insurance store serving 36 states not operating their own—and have prompted a massive troubleshooting effort.

(Read more: My hair would be on fire, says ex-HHS official)

While the individual mandate is moving forward, the employer mandate—which had been set to begin in January—was delayed by one year back in July. Under that provision, companies with more than 50 employees will have to provide health insurance to those who work more than 30 hours a week or face fines.

At AutoNation, Jackson said: "We're doing everything possible to prepare for [Obamacare]. If the systems are there, it's probably manageable. Without the systems, it's going to be a just a huge mess for corporate America."

By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC.

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