Dem Senator On Republican O’Care Replacement: ‘They Are In A Panic’

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January 18, 2017 3:39 p.m.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) says Republicans have approached him looking for help to replace the Affordable Care Act because he says “they are in a panic.”

“I think they want a life line because they don’t have a plan,” Schatz told TPM.

Schatz told TPM that Republicans’ overtures to talk health care are little more than vague hints that the Democratic senator should sit down with them.

“It’s ‘hey, let’s talk. Why don’t we form a little grouping,’ but nobody’s buying it because they have no plan,” Schatz said.

Republicans took the first steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act last week using a process known as reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority vote to pass in the Senate. But Republicans know that they will need Democratic support to replace Obamacare.

“They want to be able to claim this is part of a good faith negotiation, but it’s simply not.They have no idea what comes next so they want some bipartisan cover for their nonsense behavior,” Schatz said.

He also said Republicans were looking for Democratic cooperation so that they can share the blame.

“They’re really worried because anyone who pays any attention to health care knows exactly what is about to happen to the system, to the market and to individuals, and they don’t want to be blamed for it so they’re trying to see if they can take us off the cliff with them and we aren’t going to abide by it,” Schatz said.

Other Democrat senators TPM talked to said Republicans had not reached out to them to hammer out a plan. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said that he had a conversation with his Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), but very little with Senate Republicans.

“I’ve actually talked to Republicans about what is next, and I said, ‘You know the only way to get 900,000 people covered in Ohio and to get 22 million covered in the United States is single payer. It’s Medicare for all, and I said I don’t think you guys like that much.’ And they don’t, of course,” Brown said. “There is this public vibrato repeal and replace that is masking a jitteriness on so many Republican senators’ parts,” Brown said.

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