published Friday, November 1st, 2013

Rick Santorum visits Chattanooga, says Obamacare will fail

Given time, the Affordable Care Act will fail, 2012 Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said Thursday in Chattanooga.

"Ultimately, Obamacare stops itself," he said while visiting Abba's House to promote the first wide theatrical release by Echo-Light Studios, of which he is chief executive officer.

Computer problems ensured a stumbling start for the massive effort to make sure nearly every American has health insurance. Santorum said the plan was never going to work.

"It was not in any shape to pass" when the Democratic-dominated Senate pushed it through on Christmas Eve of 2009, he said. "Now it's the law. [The Democrats] knew it was a mess. Now, nobody even knows how bad it is yet."

The current and expected future problems with Obamacare are why the strategy by conservative Republicans to defund the law last month -- ultimately resulting in a 16-day partial government shutdown -- was the wrong thing to do, Santorum said.

"It was the right thing [to oppose it]," he said "but the wrong time. They should have let the government fund it, let it roll out" and then let it crash on its own merits.

Santorum said he does not disagree with the aims of conservative Republicans, but takes issue with how to accomplish those goals.

"You don't need to go full frontal on every issue you have," he said.

Santorum, 55, won pluralities in Hamilton County and Tennessee in the 2012 GOP presidential primary, but ultimately lost to Mitt Romney.

While he is "happy" and enjoys his work as CEO of Dallas-based EchoLight, he is "open to looking at [another presidential run in] 2016 as a possibility" if things fall into place as they did in 2012, he said.

In the meantime, "The Christmas Candle" is foremost on Santorum's mind.

The movie, based on a book by Max Lucado and featuring the acting debut of British singing sensation Susan Boyle, dwells on Christmas miracles that occur every 25 years in a small Victorian English village.

"It's a Christmas movie about Christmas" in a time when most holiday releases focus on anything but, Santorum said. "It's a beautiful film, a beautiful story."

One of the film's most touching aspects is that it deals with people struggling with their faith, he said.

"Everybody struggles with his faith," Santorum said. "It's a tough thing to understand."

Yet, the movie displays "how accessible [God] is to everybody," he said.

Ronnie Phillips Jr., pastor of evangelism and outreach at Abba's House, said the movie will open Nov. 22 at East Ridge 18.

Phillips said he hopes to interest additional churches to plan special events around the production.

Contact Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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