GOP senator: No 'significant consensus' on healthcare plan

Republican Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranMcConnell signaling Trump trial to be quick, if it happens Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Furor over White House readout of Ukraine call | Dems seize on memo in impeachment push | Senate votes to end Trump emergency | Congress gets briefing on Iran Senate again votes to end Trump emergency declaration on border wall MORE (Kan.) was quizzed by dozens of constituents on the Senate legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare during a town hall Thursday in rural Kansas.

Moran said there is not a "significant consensus" about how to pass the GOP plan.

"We ought to try to take care of people who are harmed by the Affordable Care Act, by also ... meeting the needs of people who were benefited by the Affordable Care Act," he said.

"[That's] almost impossible to try to solve when you're trying to do it with 51 votes in the United States Senate, in which there is not significant consensus on what the end result ought to be."

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Moran added he believes senators should have publicly debated the bill, brought it to the Senate floor and tried to "figure out where there are 60 votes to pass something."

Republicans are using a fast-track budget process to pass their healthcare bill with only 51 votes, allowing them to advance the legislation without support from Democrats.

Moran is one of nine GOP senators opposed to the current version of the Senate bill. He was repeatedly thanked and got applause during Thursday's town hall for his position.

But Moran was also pressed to support a government-run public option in the insurance marketplace, a Medicare-for-all system and Planned Parenthood, which is defunded for a year under the Senate bill.

When Moran told a constituent he didn't "have an answer you're going to like" on Planned Parenthood, a voter fired back, "You need a better one, then."

Moran added he would have preferred that GOP leadership give their legislation a public hearing — something that Democrats and activists have pushed — but didn't believe that would happen. 

GOP leaders are still tweaking their legislation as senators are dispersed across the country for the Fourth of July recess. Republicans want to vote before the end of July on the healthcare plan, after having to delay a vote initially expected last week.

Pressed if he would vote against the bill if it wasn't given a hearing, Moran said Thursday that is "not my criteria." 

"I know that's not the answer you were looking for," he said. "I'll be explaining a 'no' vote, I'll be explaining a yes vote whichever one it is. ... I will choose country over party."