U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, M.D. (R-Ga), the author of the Patient OPTION Act – one of the Republican answers to President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), released a statement on Friday criticizing Newt Gingrich who recently said at the Republican National Committee (RNC) summer summit that Republicans offered no "positive replacement for Obamacare."
"I will bet you, for most of you, if you go home in the next two weeks while your members of Congress are home and you look them in the eye and say, 'What is your positive replacement for Obamacare?' they will have zero answer," said Gingrich, who is a former House speaker and GOP presidential candidate.
Gingrich's statement caused a stir within the Republican Party, which has come out with several pieces of health care legislation since the passage of Obamacare.
"I am surprised that my friend Newt Gingrich recently stated in an interview that Republicans have offered no positive solution to replace Obamacare," said Broun in a press release. "In fact, for the past three Congresses, I have authored and introduced such a plan, my Patient OPTION Act. H.R. 2900, the Patient OPTION Act, would repeal the failure that is Obamacare, and replace it with market-based solutions. It would make healthcare less expensive for everyone, increase access to coverage for all Americans, and save Medicare from going broke."
Gingrich, who is a former Georgia congressman, also said at the summit that Republicans are in a desperate need of new ideas and positive messaging.
Gingrich said that the Republican Party rewards negative and "vicious" attacks that the voters are tired of hearing, but lacks a vision that would establish it as the party of the future.
"We are caught up right now in a culture, and you see it every single day, where as long as we are negative and as long as we are vicious and as long as we can tear down our opponent, we don't have to learn anything – and so we don't," Gingrich said. "We have to do the homework."
Republicans haven't been overly vocal in their rebuttal of Gingrich's statements. While a few, including Broun, pointed to their health care proposals, it's hard to argue that the bills have not been taken seriously even by their own leadership in the Republican-led House of Representatives.
Broun, who represents Georgia's 10th congressional district, is running for U.S. Senate, so underlining his efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare is especially important.
"As a medical doctor, I carefully crafted this legislation so that it will provide patient-centered care while empowering American families when it comes to making healthcare decisions," said Broun in his statement. "This week, I've traveled my district, meeting with Georgians who are worried about what Obamacare might do to their personal finances and health coverage. It's clear that a change needs to occur - and my Patient OPTION Act is the positive solution that Americans want and need."