“One of the things I’d like to see — and I understand, you’ve got consultants in town telling Republicans 'don’t pass anything, because then they can beat you up for it' – I’d like to see Republicans pass an alternative," Jindal said during a lunch at the Heritage Foundation in response to a question from the Washington Examiner. "At least have the floor vote and debate on it. Why not? There are multiple bills out there. ... But at least have that debate. At least show people we do have better ideas. I know we’ve had many good votes to repeal Obamacare, but at least let’s have a vote on a replacement.”
Jindal made the comments following a speech to the think tank to discuss a new energy plan put out by his mini-think tank America Next. The policy document was part of a broader effort by Jindal to lay out national policy proposals ahead of an expected presidential run. In April, Jindal came to Washington to promote the group's healthcare proposal.
During Tuesday's lunch, he said he rejected the idea that Obamacare had become too entrenched to ever be repealed. Unlike many other entitlement programs, he said, "The more people that experience Obamacare, the less they like it. And the less popular it will be.”
He continued: “Remember when they predicted in this election cycle, Democrats were going to win elections based on Obamacare? I haven’t seen that ad yet. I’m waiting for Mary Landrieu to run an ad saying, ‘I’m proud I voted for Obamacare and make this election a referendum.’ The Obamacare ads are coming from her Republican opponents, not from her.”
He said that rising premiums and difficulty finding doctors, among other complications, would continue to make the law unpopular.
“Voters want the program Obamacare to be repealed, but that support is often conditional on what’s going to replace it," he cautioned. "They don’t want to repeal it in a vacuum. They want to know what you’re going to do differently.”
In response to a question from the National Review's Jim Geraghty about the timing of his decision about a presidential run, Jindal conceded, “I won’t be coy, I am absolutely thinking and praying about running in ’16."
He said that any decision would have to wait until at least after the November elections and that most likely a "final decision" wouldn't come until "after the holidays, after the start of the year."
But he added that regardless of his own decision, Republicans had to get serious about laying out a policy agenda.
“Anybody thinking about running for president, especially a Republican, especially a conservative, more important than the timeline, is I think our side, we need to understand people are hungry for big change," he said. "They’re not looking for tinkering. They’re looking for a hostile takeover of D.C..”
Jindal warned, “Here’s the danger for us, and I think we will get the majority in November. If we don’t do anything with it, I think there’ll be a severe backlash against Republicans. Just being anti-Obama is not enough.”
He continued, “Voters are looking for Republicans to do something. To offer real ideas, real solutions. ... We can’t just be the party of 'no.' Independent of my decision, we’ve got to be the party of ideas and specific solutions.” http://washex.am/1qM5OwH