Former Sen. Jim DeMint tolda fired-up crowd Wednesday night that his ultimate goal is to see Obamacare defunded and eliminated entirely.
The Heritage Foundation event, held at the Crowne Plaza Westshore Hotel in Tampa,attractedhundreds ofelderly citizens, most of whom wanted what DeMint wanted, fearing the worst in President Barack Obama's new health care law.
DeMint, a Republican, served as a U.S. senator from 2005 to 2013 for the state of South Carolina, but left his position to become president of the Heritage Foundation.
By the sound of his speech Wednesday night, DeMint doesnt seem to miss the Senate. Every day I get to go to work with about 280 people who share my love of freedom and love of country, he said about the Heritage Foundation. Theyre ready to take the battle to whomever is threatening our freedoms and what we stand for.
DeMint spoke fervently against Obamacare, pointing to the health care systems of Britain and Canada as examples of the direction the U.S. should avoid if it wants to provide better health care for its citizens.
When medicine is effectively a government service, thats not what we want as Americans, he said. Its a large part of our economy.
He also warned of the potential fallout by implementing Obamacare once it gets going. He told the crowd there is urgency to stop Obamacare because it might be the last chance the American people have.
This is the time, he said. This might be that last off-ramp for us to stop Obamacare before it gets so enmeshed in our culture that its impossible to change.
The former senator also didnt waste time throwing Republican senators who wont stand against Obamacare under the bus. He placed blame on consultants who say defunding Obamacare is too risky, saying they are part of the reason the GOP lost the 2012 election.
DeMint also said Obama and supporters of Obamacare are using the legislation to control American citizens.
"Folks who want collectivism, or government control -- top down control -- have always pointed to health care as the best way to get control of the people, he said. They know that this is not just about health care. Its the pretense of giving people better health and better health care. But we know already that the federal government cant do that.
DeMint pointed to research that showed people who are on Medicaid are less healthy than those with no insurance at all.
Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was also present at the event. The Heritage Foundations event in Tampa was just one stop on its nine-city tour.
The kickoff event to defund Obamacare started in Fayetteville, Ark., on Monday evening,then moved to Dallas.Other stops are planned for Nashville and Birmingham later this week, followed by Indianapolis, Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Wilmington next week.
Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at firstname.lastname@example.org.