Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI, joined Vicki McKenna on WISN-AM (8:05) Tuesday to discuss the failure of the US Senate to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Johnson told McKenna that he’s not giving up on replacing Obamacare. “First of all, let me tell everybody, I’m not giving up,” Johnson said. “I think there’s a number of people in conference are not giving up.”
“I really can’t tell you exactly what the next step’s going to be other than a number of us are going to keep working to try and bring premiums down,” Johnson said.
Johnson told McKenna that his biggest problem with the bills presented so far is that they haven’t done enough to drive the cost of health care premiums down:
Twofold, on the Senate bills, we have not in a forthright manner addressed the root cause of why these premiums have doubled. On national average, it’s been double, 105 percent increase overall. But I know. I’ve talked to people where they tripled and quadrupled. So we didn’t do enough to address the root cause of that to bring those artificially increased premiums down, which I think is entirely possible if we have the courage to address those root causes.
And then I’m still concerned about the disparity between the expansion and non-expansion states, and simply the fact that Medicaid expansion puts at risk, I think, Medicaid legacy – is all we have in Wisconsin. We have some waivers but basically we have Medicaid legacy that my way of thinking is put at risk by Medicaid expansion which is directed toward able-bodied working age childless adults. And the federal government supports able-bodied, working age childless adults at a far higher percentage than they support disabled children, for example.
McKenna asked Johnson to explain the politics behind the reluctance of some Republicans to tackle the issue of how covering pre-existing conditions have caused the cost of health insurance premiums to go up.
“Nobody likes to see someone with a pre-existing condition not being covered. And so the way it’s always termed is, well, we shouldn’t allow people with pre-existing conditions to (a) not get insurance and not have to pay more for their insurance than somebody else. Well, when you say that, what you’re saying is we really need to make young healthier people pay the same insurance rate as somebody who, let’s actually talk about somebody who may be a little less sympathetic. Somebody who is completely out of shape, doesn’t take care of themselves, smokes, drinks, you know really causes their bad health. That individual shouldn’t have to pay a dime more than somebody who is out there working out, bike riding 50 hours a day, watching their health, watching their diet. Obamcare says those two individuals should pay basically the same amount, or there’s a band within which the premiums are going to differ.
“The benefits these government programs provide are always popular and you can always talk about them in a very sympathetic way to get people to support them when people don’t realize the reality of the situation is that you are forcing young, healthy people to pay a lot more that they ordinarily would in a fairer marketplace.”
You can listen to full interview below: