PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey endorsed the bill revealed by Senate Republicans that would begin the process of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, telling Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that he is keeping a pledge he made to voters.
“I’m very likely to support it because it is a very major step in the direction of fulfilling the promise that I’ve made of repealing Obamacare and moving us to a direction where consumers and individual patients get to decide what their health care looks like. It’s a big step in that direction.”
Toomey explained that Republicans see the full repeal of Obamacare as a process that needs to play out over some time.
“The original plan for this was to have a simple, complete repeal vote and have the effective date three years forward so we would have some time to work through a whole series of legislative changes that would enable the replacement market to develop. That all got consolidated and, I just want to underscore, if we pass something here, we’re going to repeal as much of Obamacare as we can, and that will be a lot. We will have measures that will stabilize the individual market, which is, right now, in a free fall and collapsing. We’ll stabilize that. We’ll make some changes to Medicaid. We will do those things and it will not be a completed project. We will need, still, regulatory changes. We will need subsequent legislation. So, it’s important that people not judge this as though it is the final word. Procedurally and politically, we can’t do it all in one shot.”
He said he hopes negotiations can take place that can placate resistance to this bill that exists among the more conservative members of the GOP Senate.
“I am completely sympathetic to their interests. I hope that we’ll be able to move the legislation even in that direction, but we are constrained by parliamentary rules and procedures and that raises the question of just how far we can go. We were never going to be able to do everything on this bill. That was never possible. It’s not possible now. So, it’s a question of, are we going as far as we can? Maybe not quite and so that’s why I hope that [Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson] and [Utah Senator Mike Lee] and [Texas Senator Ted Cruz] and [Kentucky Senator Rand Paul]’s concerns might actually nudge this in a direction that will have less regulation and, therefore, lower cost plans are available.”