Former Texas Governor Rick Perry said Tuesday that Congress should repeal Obamacare but not try to replace it—that it should leave that task to states.
"The fact is that the alternatives lie in the states," the potential Republican presidential candidate said at an economic summit hosted in Orlando by Florida Governor Rick Scott. "You cannot have one-size-fits-all."
Perry's remarks represent a break from many members of his party who want to eliminate the law but insist that Congress cannot return to the status quo of the days before the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
"So obviously the repealing of Obamacare, we'll all say 'yes, that's what we're all going to do,'" Perry said. But when it comes to a replacement, Perry said he would prefer to "trust your states to come up with it, rather than Washington D.C."
Many Republicans have called for federal health care policy changes that would make it easier for states to set up their own systems. More than five years after Obamacare was enacted, congressional Republicans have voted many times to repeal it but still haven't coalesced around alternatives.
Speaking before Perry, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a presidential candidate, said the federal government should scrap Obamacare and "envision, imagine, invent and implement a real cure." He didn't offer specifics.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, another presidential hopeful, said "there has to be a transition" to a new system when repealing Obamacare, and endorsed changes such as tax-advantaged health saving accounts and allowing the sale of insurance across state lines.