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Sen. Mike Lee on Senate Health Bill: ‘I Have Not Seen It Yet Either’

McConnell in dark AP
Associated Press

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) scolded the Republican leadership, revealing that, despite serving as a member of the Senate health working group, he has not seen the body’s Obamacare replacement bill yet.

Sen. Lee admitted that despite serving as a member of the Senate’s health care working group, he has yet to see the bill that the Senate will vote on next week. Lee said,

There are a lot of people expressing concerns about the health care bill in the Senate and a lot people ask me specifically when the health care bill is going to be public, and why it isn’t public. The short answer is, I have not seen it yet either, even though I’m a member of this working group among Senate Republicans assigned to help narrow some of the focus of this.

The Utah Senator explained that he too remains frustrated by the Senate leadership’s lack of transparency, and that only the Senate leadership remains active in drafting the bill.

He said:

I haven’t seen the bill and it’s become increasingly apparent in the last few days even though we thought we were going to be in charge of writing the bill within this working group, it’s apparently being written by a small handful of staffers for members of the Republican leadership in the Senate. So, if you’re frustrated by the lack of transparency in this process, I share your frustration wholeheartedly. The American people need and deserve to see the legislation as it moves through the Senate. I hope that we will receive the draft legislation soon. I’m told that it exists I have not been able to see it yet and as far as I know the overwhelming majority of my colleagues haven’t been able to see it either.

Which brings us to the next question, why exactly should we be moving forward with a plan to vote on something that the American people have not seen or most of their Senators in the United States Senate have not had the chance to see? There’s no question that the American people need relief from Obamacare, there’s no question that health care has become unaffordable in recent years. The big question is, what are we going to do about it and why it is that we have to act so quickly that we necessarily have to be voting on it next week? I’d be fine don’t get me wrong on voting on it soon.

The Senate appears to have adopted the same level of secrecy that the House leadership had around its health care overhaul. Conservatives such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) labeled the House bill as “Ryancare” and “Obamacare-Lite.”

Sen. Lee concluded, “We should be able to see it first and we should have been able to see it weeks ago. And for those of you who have expressed those concerns, I certainly share them too.”

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