Missouri’s U.S. Senators are awaiting a revised GOP health care plan that aims to replace Obamacare – a signal that there does not appear to be enough votes to pass the bill. The measure is expected to be rolled out this week. Another signal that votes are lacking is the Senate will have a shorter August recess so Republicans can focus on things like health care legislation and other priorities. U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, tells Columbia radio station KSSZ that fixing what is broken in the current system is not the answer.
“There’s really no logical way to start over,” says Blunt. “You do have to take the system that now exists, which has different problems than it had seven years ago. In our state, it’s been particularly bad in terms of people’s ability to get insurance on the individual marketplace.”
Blunt, who was re-elected to his second six year term in November, says the average Obamacare deductible is too high – $6,000 for an individual and $12,000 for a family. He wants to eliminate penalties for Americans who don’t buy insurance and create more coverage choices.
“We really need to be focused much more on access to health care and be sure that people don’t just have something that they can label insurance coverage with high deductibles that means you don’t go to the doctor,” says Blunt.
He says the most successful part of Obamacare is allowing people to stay on their parents’ health care coverage until they are 26 years old. According to Blunt, the move has resulted in about three million additional people being insured annually without costing taxpayers money.
The revised plan expected to be released this week is reported to include preserving a tax on wealthy Americans’ investment income for five to seven years. Some Republicans say the federal government could direct the taxes to a fund that could to help cover consumers’ health care costs while the new GOP plan takes effect. They hope the move will shore up support from moderates.
Under previous GOP plans released, at least 20 million people would lose insurance coverage. Critics, including U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, say the Republican measures would harm Medicaid recipients, especially in rural areas. Democrats have urged Republicans to work together to fix the current system.