Wednesday, March 12, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
U.S. Sen. Angus King
Tim Greenway / Staff Photographer
Changing the way the health care system functions has been a priority in Washington for decades, but King said he believes there is more urgency now because of the expected spike in costs. Still, he said, change won't be easy. The U.S. spends about twice as much on health care as any other country.
"Right now we pay for procedures," he said. "We need to pay for health. But I don't think we should pass a law. I think you do it by having employers take control of their health care costs."
EAST COAST MISSILE SHIELD NEEDED
On national security, King said North Korea's recent saber-rattling has made the case for an East Coast missile shield, one that could be based in northern Maine. The collective security threats, he said, keep him awake at night.
"The potential for mischief in our supply chain is serious," he said. "It's very worrisome."
On partisan gridlock, King, who caucuses with Democrats, said Republicans are doing more obstructing at the moment but the same could be said of Democrats for much of President George W. Bush's two terms.
He said the bigger problem is that the filibuster has made the Senate a "de facto 60-vote body," so it is difficult to pass any legislation that is even somewhat controversial.
"Everyone talks about fixing the filibuster, but how do you do it?" he said. "Do you change rules by simple majority? Once you let that genie out of the bottle, then everything gets done by simple majority.
"I think the jury is still out about whether it will be used or misused in the coming months."
Even amid the gridlock and partisan sniping, King said, he's hopeful for a better government.
"Maybe I'm just a congenital optimist," he said.
Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at: