GOP senator blasts Senate healthcare bill for reliance on government spending

GOP senator blasts Senate healthcare bill for reliance on government spending

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Sen. Cassidy plans to bring down Medicaid Senate committee schedules hearing on health care block grants MORE (R-Wis.) in an op-ed published Monday criticized the Senate GOP's plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, saying the bill only throws money at the problem.

Johnson wrote in The New York Times that Republicans have been pushing to "repair the damage done by ObamaCare for so long."

"Our priority should be to bring relief, and better, less expensive care, to millions of working men and women," he wrote.

"Unfortunately, the Senate Republican alternative, unveiled last week, doesn’t appear to come close to addressing their plight. Like Obamacare, it relies too heavily on government spending, and ignores the role that the private sector can and should play."

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Johnson — who on Sunday said he is "not a yes yet" on the bill — noted that the goals of healthcare reform should be to restrain costs "while improving quality, access and innovation."

"This is exactly what consumer-driven, free-market competition does in other areas of our economy," he wrote. 

But, he wrote, those in Washington think "more money" can solve every problem.
 
"Throwing more money at insurers won’t fix the lack of consumer-driven competition, combined with government mandates that artificially drive up the cost of care and insurance," he wrote.
 
The Senate's bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act, includes deep cuts to Medicaid and fundamentally reshapes that program from an open-ended government commitment to a system of capped federal payments that limit federal spending. The White House says this change is giving more control back to the states.
 
Johnson on Sunday said the Senate should not be voting on healthcare this coming week, noting the upper chamber doesn't have enough information yet.
 
In the op-ed Monday, Johnson said a "simple solution" to healthcare is obvious.
 
"Loosen up regulations and mandates, so that Americans can choose to purchase insurance that suits their needs and that they can afford," he wrote.
 
"Like many other senators, I had hoped that this was where things were headed during the last several weeks as the Republican bill was discussed. We’re disappointed that the discussion draft turns its back on this simple solution, and goes with something far too familiar: throwing money at the problem."
 
He added that the country is now $20 trillion in debt and the Congressional Budget Office projects another "$129 trillion of accumulated deficits over the next 30 years."
 
"A truly moral and compassionate society does not impoverish future generations to bestow benefits in the here and now," he wrote.
 
Johnson said he is looking forward to working with Senate leadership and the president to "improve the bill so it addresses the plight of the forgotten men and women by returning freedom and choice to health care."