TOPEKA — U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts touted assurances from the co-author of a Senate health-reform bill that Kansas would benefit from a $1.8 billion increase in federal aid during the next decade if the latest version of a measure repealing the Affordable Care Act became law.
Roberts, a Kansas Republican, issued a statement Monday denouncing Obamacare and repeating testimony by U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., that dispelled “coverage myths” about the legislation. Roberts said the ACA should have been dumped long ago.
“There is nothing but concern and frustration from my constituents over Obamacare’s failures, and questions, if not demands, as to why we here in the Senate have not acted,” Roberts said. “We have reached bipartisan agreement that the law isn’t working. Unfortunately, many of our colleagues simply wanted more money to patch this problem, not proposals to address many of the law’s fatal flaws.”
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., hasn’t taken a public position on the Senate bill, and he might never have to decide. Senate GOP leaders appeared to concede defeat after a third Republican lawmaker decided not to vote for it.
During a raucous Senate Finance Committee hearing, Cassidy said federal health appropriations to Kansas would rise from $2.9 billion under current law to $4.7 billion under the proposed bill by 2026. The bill will let children stay on their parents’ plan until age 26, and individuals with pre-existing conditions would have access to adequate and affordable coverage, Roberts said.
The Congressional Budget Office offered a preliminary projection that “millions” fewer Americans would have insurance coverage by 2026 under the bill carried by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Cassidy.
The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas has opposed adoption of the Graham-Cassidy bill because it would have an adverse impact on the state’s health system.
Roberts also denounced U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ proposal for a single-payer system embraced by 16 senators that amounted to “Medicare for all, government-run health care.”
“I am positive the Graham-Cassidy proposal is certainly better than socialized medicine,” Roberts said.