Sen. Cornyn: Obamacare Is ‘In Full Meltdown Mode’

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Co.–Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas feels an incredible sense urgency to move forward with repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Senate leadership released their version of health care reform Thursday, which was met with a great deal of push back from both Democrats and moderate and conservative Republicans in the Senate. Four conservative senators — Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — came out in opposition to the bill Thursday afternoon.

Coming off the heels of the senators announcement, GOP Sen. Dean Helller of Nevada said Friday that it “was going to be very difficult” to get him to “vote yes” on the Senate version of health care reform.

Republican 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, 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.

Cornyn believes that the majority of Republican senators, including some of the aforementioned senators that have expressed concerns regarding the legislation, “want to get to yes,” the senator told reporters Sunday afternoon. He believes that through “good faith negotiations,” he and others in leadership can find a way to “get them there.”

The Senate majority whip said Sunday that Senate leadership is already working with “Sen. Cruz and Sen. Lee to address their concerns.” Leadership is also working with other senators, like “Sen. Johnson, Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Dean Heller,” to get them to a yes vote.

Cornyn believes that there is no time to waste in passing Obamacare reform, because with every passing day the problems with Obamacare, like premium increases and insurers dropping out of state exchanges, continue to get worse.

“Insurance companies are going to the state regulators for the 2018 rates to be approved, and they are going to be double-digits over 2017,” Cornyn told a small gaggle of reporters Sunday. “As you seen, insurance companies are pulling out of the markets. It is in full meltdown mode. That gives me the sense of urgency we need to respond sooner rather than later. We don’t have the luxury of waiting.”

As far as the timeline for the getting a repeal bill to President Donald Trump’s desk for approval, Cornyn says it needs to be soon because “it’s not going to get any easier.” “I think August is the drop deadline,” for passing Obamacare repeal, Cornyn said.

Cornyn said that what Republican leadership in the Senate is trying to accomplish with their version of Obamacare repeal is to “make sure we keep the rates down, stabilize the system, protect pre-existing condition coverage and do responsible Medicaid reform.”

The president has been adamant that his administration cannot move forward with tax and regulatory reform until Congress is able to repeal Obamacare.

Cornyn says the president is hands on with the repeal effort.

“We are trying to hold him back,” Cornyn quipped while walking away from reporters.

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

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