Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said that the Senate GOP health care bill cuts taxes for the rich on the backs of the poor during an interview with Fox News Sunday.
“What’s driving this is not health care reform,” Durbin told host Brit Hume about the GOP plan. “What’s driving this is a tax cut. A tax cut the Republicans insist on of about $700 billion for the wealthiest people in America and pharmaceutical companies.”
When asked what it would take to get some Senate Democrats on board with the plan, Durbin said to take repeal off the table. “Take that off the table. Let’s talk about repairing the Affordable Care Act as it exists.” Durbin said he could not think of one Democrat that would support the bill.
The Senate bill rolls back major features of Obamacare and includes steep cuts to the Medicaid expansion program. The bill allows states to end the individual and employer mandate. Republicans argue that the bill rolls back penalties for Americans that choose not to purchase a health insurance plan.
Durbin called the way that Republican Senators crafted the legislation disgraceful, complaining about the lack of public hearings and debate. Durbin also asserted that the plan guts Medicaid in order to provide tax relief to the rich.
“They took the money out of health care, out of Medicaid and that’s why we see 23 million Americans losing their health insurance,” Durbin said. “It’s so those at the highest income categories can get a tax break.”
“The Republican approach will devastate Medicaid,” Durbin said, adding that premiums would go up dramatically. Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso, who joined Durbin for a spirited debate on health care, said that the plan puts Medicaid on a sustainable path for the future.
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