Sen. Toomey among undecided Republicans on latest GOP health bill

Thursday, September 21, 2017 07:08PM
Brian Taff sat down with Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey amid the looming battle over the latest health care bill on September 21, 2017.


PHILADELPHIA - Republican leaders in the Senate say they'll push for a showdown vote next week on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The bill is considered to be the Republicans' last shot to do it.

It all hinges on a handful of senators who've not yet indicated how they'll vote. One of those is Republican Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey.

As one of few undecided Republicans on the latest plan to repeal Obamacare, his support is vital. But, as of Thursday, he's not yet ready to give it.

"It spends a lot more money than I think we should be spending," he said. "It continues to keep in place a lot of regulations that keep prices higher than they otherwise would be."

But don't read his hesitation as any sure sign that a 'no' vote is looming. As far as he's concerned, when it comes to a healthcare fix, something is better than nothing.

"The fact that the bill will necessarily be imperfect, that's not necessarily a good enough reason by itself not to support it," said Toomey.

The latest plan, dubbed Graham-Cassidy, shifts healthcare spending away from the federal government, sending money that currently subsidizes insurance costs to the states.

As the argument goes, it would be better spent and better managed at that level.

But critics are crying foul, saying the bill would force tens of millions to lose insurance by 2026, drive up costs for basic services, and risk protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

We asked what he would say to those people.

"Well, there are people who have an agenda, they want to discredit. But those are numbers based on the CBO. [Congressional Budget Office]. And CBO's numbers were ridiculous," Toomey said.

Toomey says he's nearing a decision, but won't tip his hat as to which way he might go.
The clock is ticking: Republicans have vowed a vote next week, before the looming deadline after which they'd be forced to work with Democrats.

And that means the pressure on Senator Toomey is mounting.

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