A close congressional ally of President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would have an opportunity to explain to his constituents exactly what was in the GOP bill to repeal Obamacare once it’d already passed the House.
“In my district right now there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what it is we’re doing,” Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) told MSNBC’s Brian Williams. “And once we get it done, and then we can have the chance to really explain it.”
Williams had asked Collins how he would explain the bill to residents of his district who may stand to lose insurance coverage.
“I don’t believe that’s the case,” Collins responded.
He went on to say the bill’s “fundamental” changes to the health care system would take place in 2020, and to criticize the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the bill’s effects.
The comment calls to mind a remark from then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during the months-long legislative process that led to the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
“We have to pass the bill,” she said, after referring to misleading conservative attacks on its contents, “so that you can find out what is in it—away from the fog of the controversy.”
Pelosi’s comment sparked years of anti-Obamacare campaign ads, and, recently, have provided a talking point for Trump’s White House press secretary, Sean Spicer.
Collins’ comment is reflective of the enormous changes that the Republican bill has gone through in the past few days.
But Collins, the first congressman to endorse Trump’s campaign, was optimistic about the bill’s chances of passing the House in the face of shaky whip counts.
Asked if he thought Republicans had the votes to pass the bill, Collins told Williams “I’d say the answer is yes.”
“This is what we have, and at this point in time, it’s a vote to support our President and all of our signature issue,” he added. “Or, frankly, it’s a vote for Nancy Pelosi and maintaining Obamacare, which is failing, and will even get worse as we move forward.”