South Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Sanford told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday that in the spirit of President Donald Trump’s legacy as a businessman, he is treating the Obamacare bill supported by Speaker Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) as the beginning of the process, not the end.
“In as much as President Trump views many things as a negotiation, I’m quite sure he would rarely take any party’s opening bid,” said Sanford, flanked by other members of the House Freedom Caucus, as well as Sen. Rand Paul (R.-Ky.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R.-Utah)–all of whom consider the RyanCare bill a weak attempt to repeal and replace the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
“With regard to a healthcare bill moving forward, I see leadership’s healthcare plan as an opening proposal,” he said.
“The debate that is forming will allow conservatives to enhance and improve what has been proposed, and I think this could represent a win for patients, healthcare providers, and the taxpayer alike,” the congressman said.
“In the case of the Affordable Care Act, it’s important that we not lower the bar on what we believe simply because a Republican is now in the White House,” he said.
Sanford said he and other Capitol Hill conservatives do not understand how every House and Senate Republican voted for the 2015 repeal and replace bill, but the 2015 bill is no longer supported by the Republican leadership. The 2015 Obamacare repeal and replace bill was authored by Rep. Tom Price (R.-Ga.), who is now Heath and Human Services Secretary.
“We have a repeal bill that was fully supported by House and Senate Republicans and made its way to President Obama’s desk,” he said.
“As Republicans, we decried the fact that he would veto it,” he said. “Why would we now water down this same bill and send a new and weaker bill to President Trump?”