Cantor: 'We Need to Repeal' Obamacare

With the nation awaiting a landmark ruling, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told CNBC that “we need to repeal” President Barack Obama’s health care reform.

Eric Cantor
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Eric Cantor

“There’s clearly a consensus, at least in the House of Representatives, that Obamacare was a mistake,” Cantor told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday.

Cantor, R-Va., said Americans want free choice over health insurance. He said he hoped that a portion of the law will be struck down by the Supreme Court so that the House can move to repeal the bill and rebuild the legislation from the bottom up. “We need to repeal the law so that we can get back to the kind of health care outlook that most Americans are looking for.”

The justices are expected to rule Thursday, the last day of the court’s session.

“We will put back together a health care plan that actually stresses choice on the part of families, the ability to access the kind of health care that you want to tailor for your own needs — not somebody in Washington deciding for you,” Cantor said.

Also appearing on “Squawk Box,” former Aetna chairman and CEO Ronald Williamssaid he expects the court to strike down the provision of the Affordable Care Act that Americans bemandated to buy health insurance.

“The individual mandate, had it been framed as a tax, would have been on much more solid ground, just as the Medicare tax is,” Williams said. He said that the mandate is unlikely to be upheld because it violates the commerce clause of the Constitution by defining the nonpurchase of insurance as commerce.

Cantor said his ideal legislation would send health care back to the private sector. “When has it ever worked for Washington to go in and set cost and provide quality service?”

But can the private sector ensure coverage for all Americans? “As a country we have a moral obligation to find a way to get everyone covered,” Williams said.

“Everyone has to pay somehow. There is no free lunch,” he added. “When you mandate insurance companies to guarantee and issue insurance, there must be a mandate on individuals or else economically it does not work.”

Economic, constitutional and moral factors continue to clash andprolong the healthcare debate. Ahead of the court ruling, there may only be one thing Americans can agree on.

“I don’t think anybody likes the status quo,” Cantor said, acknowledging that while a majority of Americans do not approve of the law in its entirety, the current health care system is flawed.