Sen. Johnson On O’Care: ‘Seek To Repair It So The Public Can Use It’

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 15: Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., arrives in the Capitol for a vote on Thursday, September 15, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said that Republicans should aim to “repair” Obamacare and return power back to the states so that Americans have a better chance at accessing insurance coverage at an affordable price.

Johnson told reporters Tuesday that HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) often told colleagues to look at Obamacare like a broken bridge. The advice is not to buy it, but instead repair it.

“We’ll seek to repair it so the public can use it. Nobody wants to pull out the rug from anybody else,” Johnson told reporters. “We have to be designing the new bridges and things that actually work so I think that is a pretty good analogy.”

The rhetoric is a shift from Republicans just a month ago who were gunning to repeal the Affordable Care Act as soon as possible without much forethought of what came next. Many rank-and-file Republicans are growing increasingly uneasy now that simply repealing Obamacare without a clear replacement could backfire, leave individuals in their states without insurance and cause a death spiral in the insurance market.

“Right now we have a bridge that is crumbling, close to collapse. We need to shore it up. It’s very complex,” Johnson said. “It’s gonna take some time. We are probably going to need help from Democratic colleagues so let’s start seeking that help right off the bat. Let’s start voting on some of these elements.”

So far, few conversations in the Senate have been actually occurring between Republicans and Democrats on a replacement. But, it is true that while Republican senators can repeal many parts of Obamacare through reconciliation, which only requires a majority vote in the Senate, they cannot replace it that way. That means that Democrats will have to sign on and Johnson said he has serious concerns they will help with the heavy lifting if Republicans charge blindly ahead with repeal.

“We need to understand what the whole package is,” Johnson said. “How do we get votes for replace? I take Sen. Schumer at his word that if we vote repeal , they’re not going to help us at all. That means we are going to have a hard time getting replacement.”

Johnson said he needed to see the “game plan” and “strategy” laid out.

“Let’s understand exactly what we’re doing here before we just take step one,” Johnson said.

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  1. doG … this is gettin’ good …

    Wonder how McStretchyneck is gonna’ navigate this ? …

  2. “Return control to the states” – yeah! How about we let the states take the initiative to set up their own exchanges, and not have the evil Feds dictate from … oh … wait … that’s the way it was supposed to work!

    It was only the refusal of red states to set up exchanges, part of the solid wall of rejectionist obstruction from the GOP on all fronts, that forced so many to rely on the federal exchange in the first place.

    The transparent dishonesty of all this just kills me. (Oh wait, no, they have a plan for that, too…)

  3. And rather than lock Hillary up, we won’t. And rather than make Mexico pay for a wall, we’ll just pay for it ourselves, or better yet, blow that plan off.

    Electing trump, looks more and more like just giving him the keys to our national vault so he can personally benefit.

  4. Repair it so the public can use it? How is the public not using it? I can understand the suggestion to repair pieces of it or amend certain parts of it as we go, like people have been suggesting should happen on an as-needed basis ever since the ACA was crafted. But to claim that the public “isn’t using it” is just word-salad bullshit.

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