Reaction Continues After GOP Health Care Bill Revealed

Sen. Thune, South Dakota Democrats Discuss Debate Of Obamacare Replacement

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The reveal was quiet but the reaction was loud.

The GOP-controlled Senate released their version of the Obamacare replacement Thursday.

Senator John Thune said the response to the bill was “predictably partisan.”

“Even if Hillary Clinton had been elected president, we’d still be having this conversation because this is a failed system that has to be fixed. The question is how you do it,” said Sen. Thune.

Some moderates and conservatives in the GOP, such as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, remain uncommitted to the new version of the bill.

Thune said this reaction from fellow Republicans makes him feel like they’re “in the right place.”

“We’ve kind of found that middle ground. We have to try and figure out a way to tweak the bill and there are some things that you can dial one way or the other that you might be able to attract some of the folks that are still on the undecided, on the bubble,” said Thune

Thune said he believes their bill creates marketplace stability, improve affordability, helps those with pre-existing conditions and makes Medicaid more sustainable.

Samuel Parkinson, Executive Director of the South Dakota Democratic Party, said they disagree.

“We’re seeing a similar bill that came out of the House and it’s not a good bill,” said Parkinson.

He said their primary concern is Medicaid cuts.

He said they worry citizens in the 59 to 65 year old range will get hurt the most.

“They’ve worked their entire life and put money into the system so they can benefit when they get to 65 and now we’re going to charge them more before they get to that point,” said Parkinson.

Cuts to Planned Parenthood and assisted living funding also make the list of South Dakota Democrat concerns.

While Parkinson admits there are issues with the Affordable Care Act, such as insurance companies pulling out of exchange, he said they don’t want to see the law die.

“We don’t want that to happen so let’s work within the system we currently have. Let’s focus more on the patients, less on the insurance companies,” said Parkinson.

Sen. Thune says a date for the vote on the new version is unclear but the expectation is it will happen late next week.

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