GOP Sen. Hoeven Doesn’t Back Senate Obamacare Repeal Bill ‘As It Stands’

Bill Clark/CQPHO

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) on Wednesday said that he does not support the current draft Senate bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

During a roundtable event with North Dakota hospital executives, Hoeven told the audience that he “doesn’t support the bill as it stands,” but that the Senate is working to improve the legislation, according to the Forum News Service.

In a statement issued after the event, Hoeven reiterated that he does not back the current draft.

“While I do not support the Senate health care bill in its current form, we continue working on the legislation with the goal of providing greater access to health care and more affordable health insurance,” he said in the statement. “Addressing the problems with Obamacare and reforming our health care system will be a process, not one bill, and meetings like today’s will allow us to take feedback from health care providers in North Dakota back to Washington.”

Several North Dakota residents with concerns about the Senate draft legislation attended that health care discussion at the Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, according to the Forum News Service.

Hoeven is one of several Republican senators who have came out against the draft legislation since Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delayed a vote on the bill until after the July 4 recess. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) all came out against the legislation after it was clear they would not take a vote until July.

Hoeven had shared concerns about the bill in a statement at the end of June, but his Wednesday comments were the clearest yet on his stance.

“Obamacare has raised costs and limited health care options for families in North Dakota and across the nation. We need to make reforms in order to provide greater access to health care and more affordable health insurance. As I said yesterday, the CBO report shows that we have more work to do,” he said in a statement at the end of June. “I have concerns about the Senate draft legislation, but will continue working to improve it to help ensure that it provides a smooth transition away from Obamacare and toward a health care system that provides greater access to health coverage for low-income individuals either through Medicaid or tax credits based on age and income that will make health insurance more affordable.”