TOPEKA — U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran welcomed the decision Tuesday to delay a Senate vote on legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act until the emergence of a replacement capable of giving Kansans access to better-quality and more affordable health care.
The Kansas Republican, who has sought to reverse the law signed by President Barack Obama, said the bill crafted behind closed doors by Senate Republican leaders and intended to be acted upon this week without normal committee deliberation didn’t merit his vote.
“The Senate health care bill missed the mark for Kansans and, therefore, did not have my support,” Moran said. “I am pleased with the decision to delay the vote. Now is the time to take a step back and put the full legislative process to work.”
Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, who revealed last week his intention to vote for the bill despite imperfections, said the postponement shouldn’t be viewed as evidence of fading resolve to jettison Obamacare.
“We must be courageous and pass legislation as soon as possible to prepare for Obamacare’s inevitable collapse,” Roberts said. “Senators expressed their determination to work for a solution. I am certainly open to further improvements in the bill, but Kansas fared well under this draft.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said opposition among GOP senators prompted abandonment of a plan to vote on the overhaul bill. The measure could be up for debate after the Senate’s July 4 recess, but 50 members would be required to place the bill in position to be adopted — with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.
The Senate version of the bill reform the ACA resembled legislation adopted last month by the House. The four Kansas members of the House voted in support of that bill.
National polling has indicated attempts by the House and Senate to withdraw health insurance from more than 20 million Americans to be unpopular. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the Senate bill would leave 22 million fewer people with insurance in the next decade, and insurance premiums were expected to skyrocket during the next two years.
”I remain committed to working with my colleagues and continuing conversations with patients and providers in Kansas to find a path forward that truly repeals and replaces Obamacare with a plan that makes certain Kansans will have access to more affordable and better quality health care,” Moran said.
Roberts said the Senate bill provided “tens of thousands of low-income Kansans” with tax credits to purchase insurance, protected people from denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions and allowed young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance plans.
David Jordan, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, said the organization would rally against the Senate bill today outside Moran’s office in Olathe.
“CBO estimates the legislation would cause 22 million Americans to lose their health insurance coverage. Tens of thousands will be Kansans,” Jordan said. “At the same time, covered benefits will be reduced, assistance to purchase insurance will be cut and deductibles will skyrocket. The hardest hit will be those who are older and have lower income.”
Jordan said the “reckless legislation” pending in the Senate would make deep cuts in Medicaid payments to the states that result in harmful cuts to children, the elderly and people with disabilities as well as hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers.