GOP Sen. Says It’s ‘Almost Impossible’ To Replace O’Care With Just GOP Votes

Tom Williams/CQPHO

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) said during a Thursday town hall that he was disappointed with the rushed process Senate leadership pursued to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, and predicted the legislation would not pass with Republican votes alone.

Moran’s comments in Palco, Kansas came after he came out against the Senate’s draft bill following Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) decision to delay a vote on the legislation until after the July 4 recess.

“What I wish would have happened and what I encouraged to happen unsuccessfully, was, we ought to try to do this in a way in which we all have an opportunity to present our ideas and to have committee hearings, allow experts and the public to testify, and give people a chance to get comfortable or uncomfortable with whatever the proposal is,” the senator said Thursday. “And that’s not the circumstance that we find ourselves in. It’s probably not the circumstance that’s gonna happen in the near future.”

Moran also indicated that he thinks Republicans should work with Democrats to address the issues he sees with the Affordable Care Act. He said that he wants the Senate bill to help those hurt by Obamacare without hurting anyone else who benefitted from the health care law.

That is “almost impossible to try to solve when you’re trying to do it with 51 votes,” he noted.

Yet asked later in the town hall if he would withhold his vote for a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare if the Senate does not hold hearings, Moran replied, “I will not necessarily.”

He said that hearings were “preferable,” but that the legislation would “earn his vote” if it met his criteria for a good bill.

About 150 people came out for the event at the McKenna Youth and Activity Center in Palco, where the room was supposed to only hold 65 people, according to the Kansas City Star. The senator faced several questions about the Senate health care bill as well as encouragement to stick to his stance opposing it.

The first attendee to ask a question pushed Moran to articulate how the average Kansan would benefit from the Senate’s draft legislation. Moran responded that he wants the Republican bill to ensure coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and drive down costs.

“That’s not, in my view, where we are with the legislation pending in the Senate,” he said.

Another questioner compared funding for health care to funding for the military, describing both as protections for Americans, and was met with a round of applause from the crowd. Yet another attendee suggested the Senate pursue “Medicare for all,” also receiving a round of applause, before asking Moran about health care for veterans.