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Koch Network: ‘There Is Still A Lot Of Work To Be Done To Fix Health Care’

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

Colorado Springs, Co.–Senate Republicans released their bill to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s landmark health care legislation Thursday morning, and representatives from the Koch network think the Senate version does not go far enough in easing the burdens Obamacare imposed on American consumers.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to fix health care,” Executive Vice President of Freedom Partners James Davis told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We are going to continue to work with the administration, House and Senate in any way we can to advance true, free market patient-centered reform that gives everyone, including those that are most vulnerable, the care they need. That is really the forward-looking vision of the network.”

The Senate’s version rolls back major features of Obamacare and institutes steep cuts to the Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion program. The bill allows states to end the individual and employer mandates imposed under Obamacare. Essentially, the federal government will no longer penalize Americans who choose to not purchase health insurance.

The legislation also keeps two of the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Senate bill, individuals under the age of 26 would be allowed to stay on their parent’s health insurance. Additionally, it keeps the Obamacare mandate that insurance companies are not allowed to deny, or increase the price of, coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

President of Americans For Prosperity, Tim Phillips, outlined some of the problems the network has with the Senate proposal. The network’s problems with the Senate bill revolve around provisions like keeping Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion program, which he believes is working to lower the quality of care and financially burden many consumers.

“We’ve taken Medicaid and expanded it. The wait times for folks on Medicaid have gone up, especially if they are trying to see a specialist,” Phillips told reporters. “To say we will do a light nip and tuck is immoral. They are causing people to have a lower quality of actual health care.”

Phillips and Davis also provided some examples of how they think the Obamacare system has failed the American people. Namely, the higher deductibles that are difficult for many families to cover, the lack of options for insurance providers on the exchanges and the lower quality of care that some consumers face in the current health care system.

“Obamacare made it far worse but there were problems with health care before. We see the higher costs and less access to health care,” Phillips told reporters. “We have been disappointed that the movement hasn’t been closer to a full repeal.”

Phillips and Davis explained that while they are disappointed, they will continue to push to reform the U.S. health care apparatus into a viable system that provides quality, affordable care for all Americans.

“We worked to make the house bill better. We are doing the same thing on the Senate front and we are not walking away,” Phillips told reporters. “The conversation should be about better outcomes, better health.”

(Editor’s Note: Robert Donachie is a former Koch associate)

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