Hours after President Donald Trump told reporters to expect a “big surprise” on the stalled Senate health care bill, one Republican lawmaker slammed the bill, invoking the “do no harm” principle.
During an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, Rep. Pete King said Wednesday that “it’s wrong to pass something for the sake of passing it.”
King argued that Congress should work on passing a smaller health care package.
“I want to do it in a way that we’re not hurting anyone,” King said. “And if it takes it two, three, four, five years to do it, fine. If we don’t repeal all of it, hey, that’s democracy.”
The New York lawmaker voted for the House health care bill, but has come out against the Senate bill.
“The Senate did, as far as I can tell, take care of the pre-existing conditions questions, but if anything, they’ve made the more severe cuts in Medicaid,” he said. “We can argue whether or not the benefits of the Medicaid program,” King added. “The fact is, they’re in place and to be uprooting them as much as they are and really as quickly as the bill proposes is going to cause real impact to hospitals in New York and to lower-income people in New York.”
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the Senate bill would cut Medicaid spending by $772 billion over the next 10 years, compared to current health care law. Some 15 million fewer Americans would be covered by Medicaid in 2026 – a deeper cut than under the House bill.
King defended Republican leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan’s handling of repealing the Affordable Care Act, saying “they mean the very best,” but continued to express his concern over the cuts to Medicaid.
“I want to find a way to vote for it, but right now, the impact it would have on my district would be very severe,” King said.