Durbin wants more input on health care bill

By John Dempsey, WLS-AM News

(CHICAGO) Illinois Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is criticizing Republican Senate leaders for crafting their health care bill behind closed doors.     Durbin told “The Big John and Ramblin’ Ray Show” on WLS that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has shut Democrats out of the process to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Republican critics say that is exactly what Democrats did when they had congressional majorities and passed Obamacare, but Durbin says that is not true.

“We had 50 hearings, 25 straight days on the Senate floor where we took amendments.  Over 300 amendments were taken, 150 plus from the Republicans themselves who all voted against it.  It was well known and had been published on websites.  The bill was out there and this is just the opposite. We haven’t seen this bill.  No one has seen it.  I asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Tom) Price last week, what do you think of the bill?   He said ‘I haven’t seen it.’  And he’s the one who will implement it.”

CNN has reported that President Trump called the Republican health care plan that has already passed the House,  “mean” in a private meeting with Senate Republicans.

The network is quoting sources who say the President is concerned that the GOP bill could cause millions of people to lose their health insurance and slash Medicaid spending, while raising premiums for older Americans.

Durbin says since Republicans have such a narrow Senate majority, moderate GOP members could kill the Republican bill.

“If three Republican Senators say ‘this is wrong, we cannot change the health care system of America in secret,’ if they say that then Senator McConnell has to go back to the drawing board.  And I hope that drawing board has a spot for both a Democrat and a Republican.”

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