Rep. Yarmuth: Senate health care bill is sinking in 'legislative quicksand'

Rep. Yarmuth says health care bill is 'legislative quicksand'

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- For Kentuckian Kristen Robinson, the healthcare issue hits close to home amidst the discussion surrounding the U.S. Senate's plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

"I have a pre-existing condition. My brother has a pre-existing condition. My nephew does. So it's important that we have health insurance," Robinson said. "I would have never been able to have children, but luckily just in time, they got everything passed and I was able to get on some insurance and get that taken care of."

Robinson and many others joined U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D.-Kentucky, at a health care town hall at Bellarmine University Sunday afternoon. Yarmuth spoke on the Affordable Care Act and the GOP Senate's health care plan, which Yarmuth said would leave three times as many Kentuckians without insurance while also hurting the Bluegrass State as a whole.

"It would be a huge loss in economic activity in the state with 40,000 jobs lost as well," he said.

Many Democrats and several Republicans have spoken out against the GOP's bill, which Yarmuth said has been struggling to gain support. Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D.-Indiana, was in Jeffersonville, where he also criticized the health care bill that he said would leave around 300,000 Hoosiers uninsured.

"They're kind of in what I call legislative quicksand because in trying to move one way or another to pick up either conservative votes or moderate votes, they just keep sinking further and further," Yarmuth said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will need to round up 50 votes for the bill's passage, but Yarmuth said at the town hall he does not believe McConnell and the Republicans ever intended for the bill to pass.

"I think the last thing he'd want to do is hang a bill that has 15 percent support nationally from the people around his members' necks and then have them go out and campaign for re-election next year," he said.

As for Robinson, a teacher, she likens her stance on the healthcare issue to a familiar children's book.

"We've tried the ACA and we like it," she said. "A lot of us do like it, like those green eggs and ham."

If the Senate does not manage to pass the healthcare bill, the Affordable Care Act will remain in place. McConnell said earlier this week that if Senate Republicans do not get behind the bill, they would likely have to work with the Democrats on changing healthcare legislation.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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