Yarmuth: McConnell may not want health care bill to pass the Senate

07/07/2017 01:47 PM

With Republicans in both chambers of Congress, President Trump in the White House and 7 years of campaigning to revoke the Affordable Care Act, the GOP is still struggling to find votes to complete their promise to voters and repeal and replace the law also known as Obamacare.

After being forced to postpone a vote to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act last week the hunt for 51 votes is a top priority for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, but Kentucky’s lone Democratic federally elected Congressman U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville doesn’t think McConnell wanted the bill to pass in the first place.

“Right now you’re faced with the prospect of passing a piece of legislation that has somewhere around 15 percent support in the country, so if you’re worried about your majority, and that would be, I think, Sen. McConnell’s first priority is to protect his majority, then why would you hang a bill around members necks that have 15 percent support,” Yarmuth said.

Yarmuth said his thoughts are simply a working theory of what’s happening in the Senate chambers, and is not based on any inside information or discussion with the Republican leader.

If the bill is still in peril when Congress returns from their break, Yarmuth said that could open up the conversation to bipartisan changes within the ACA.

Yarmuth said the problems with the Affordable Care Act are “pretty much limited to the individual market” — adding that the Medicaid and Medicare portions are operating as they should be. The individual market affects around 6 million people, Yarmuth said.

“The proposals that came out of the House, or the bill that passed the House, and the proposal that’s been made in the Senate all use government funded devices to save the individual market — so they’ve essentially created a public option in a way to solve that problem; which I think is really ironic, because they’re the ones that always said gotta go back to the free market and create competition.”

“They’ve essentially admitted that in order to create a viable individual market the federal government has to be involved — I think that’s the foundation for some really good bipartisan work,” he said.

Yarmuth said there needs to be something done to save health insurance markets in some states, adding that Congress has not done anything to address drivers of health care cost, which he said are prescription drugs and hospital stays.

Democrats will make a campaign issue out of the health care fight as the GOP attempts replace the ACA with a bill few Americans support.

Watch the full discussion on health care with Yarmuth including his thoughts on changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid transition waiver from the Bevin administration.


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