Sen. Dick Durbin Says Real Health Care Debate Will Begin Once GOP Bill Dies

Jack Crowe | Political Reporter

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said Tuesday the Senate health care debate can only begin in earnest once the recently released GOP bill is dead.

“I think the day after this Republican repeal goes down, we can start an honest, bipartisan negotiation — that says we are not going to repeal. We are definitely going to start a bipartisan basis to repair it. I know there are Republican senators ready for that to happen,” Durbin said on CNN.

Durbin identified skyrocketing premiums in many individual marketplaces across the country as the central obstacle facing lawmakers on both side of the aisle, but he argued the GOP’s plan was not a realistic solution. (RELATED: REMINDER: Dems Claimed Premiums Would Skyrocket With Obamacare)

He added that he wouldn’t underestimate Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ability to pull some number of the five republicans who have defected back into the fold. McConnell would have to turn at least three of them to pass the bill as the legislation appears unlikely to attract any Democratic support.

While Durbin is not counting the GOP out yet, he argued the CBO report released Monday, which indicates 22 million more people will be uninsured by 2026, represents a significant roadblock for Republicans. (RELATED: Reports That 23 Million Will Lose Health Care Are WAY Off)

“But still they’re facing that number, 22 million Americans losing their health insurance. It’s a devastating statistic,” Durbin said.

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