Rep. Hurt Talks Shutdown, Health Care Controversies

By: Chris Stover Email
By: Chris Stover Email

November 12, 2013

Rep. Robert Hurt made a stop in Charlottesville Tuesday while on his way to Washington.

The Fifth District Republican is heading to Washington to resolve some recent government controversies. Hurt said the health care debacle in Washington trickles down to the Fifth District.

"We had people losing insurance policies, getting cancellation letters, then being told they have to go onto the exchange, but then they try to go into the exchange and are unable to do so," Hurt said.

On Tuesday, Hurt said Congress is still waiting on answers about how the federal health care website failed in its debut.

"It's unacceptable and at some point, there will have to be some accountability," Hurt said. "The way it's structured and what it will require of the American people is going to leave us with a health care system that has diminished quality, diminished quality of health care and increased costs. I believe it's not going to be less expensive. It's going to be more expensive."

He says there are still outstanding questions about what Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius knew and when.

"How is it possible that she did not know, that her department did not know, that his disaster was impending?" Hurt said.

Congress is expected to look at a bill this week that will allow Americans to keep their old health insurance policies.

"One that will allow essentially those who were promised if they like their doctor, they can keep their doctor," Hurt said. "If they like their policy, they can keep their policy."

Hurt explained that the mood in Washington after last month's shutdown is improving. He expressed confidence that lawmakers will make a January deadline to create a new spending plan.

"Having gone through what we went through in October, there is less appetite for getting ourselves into that situation," said Hurt. "We now hopefully will take advantage of this opportunity to really get some spending plan put in place, one that includes spending reforms going forward, and i think that's absolutely critical."

Hurt is looking forward to seeing what his colleagues present and having a discussion on how to move America forward.

"We really do need to reform the way the federal government spends money so that we can ultimately pay off that debt, get us to a balanced budget," said Hurt. "It's the right thing to do for our children and grandchildren."

As for re-election, Hurt said he isn't ready to talk about 2014. On Tuesday, the congressman only hinted at a re-election bid.

"We are 100 percent focused on representing the people of the Fifth District," said Hurt. "We're not even halfway through this Congress, and so we've got huge challenges that face us. I will say that it is despite the difficult times, it is a great honor to represent the people of the Fifth District, and I look forward to continuing to do so."

In the recent election, Charlottesville and Albemarle county voters chose mainly Democrats for local offices. Hurt said that the government shutdown could have influenced people's votes.

"I do think in this case that people were very, very angry about what happened in Washington," said Hurt. "I think that had to play some role."

The first thing on the Congressman's mind is the need to get government spending back in order before the January deadline. Hurt is confident his colleagues can avoid further impacts on the government.

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