Sen. Ben Sasse Is Uncommitted On Senate Health Care Bill

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. — Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said Sunday he has yet to throw his support behind the Senate’s health care bill.

Sasse told a crowd gathered at The Broadmoor hotel and resort Sunday that he can’t quite support the Senate’s version of Obamacare repeal — released to the public Sunday — saying it does not go far enough to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s landmark health care legislation.

“This is not a full repeal or a full replace piece of legislation,” Sasse said.

The senator said “I’m not finished reading it,” claiming he has only looked through some “40 to 45 percent” of the bill. Sasse did offer his preliminary opinion of the legislation, calling it simply a “Medicaid reform package.”

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.

The Koch network holds similar opinions regarding the Senate bill.

“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 Saturday afternoon. “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.”

President of Americans For Prosperity Tim Phillips outlined some of the problems the network has with the Senate proposal. The 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.”

Editor’s Note: Robert Donachie was a Charles Koch Institute Associate

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