PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Often considered the most laid-back, softest-spoken man in the U.S. Senate, Bob Casey is exploding over the Republican health care bill.
“I don’t know why the hell in a health care bill they’ve got to give away the store to the richest Americans,” Sen. Casey told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday. “It makes no sense. It’s obnoxious, and we should reject it.”
Delano: “You sound angry over this.”
Sen. Casey: “I am angry, very angry.”
What angers the senator are provisions in the Republican bill that hurt Pennsylvanians, including those who think they’re okay because they have private employer-provided health insurance.
“If you have employer-sponsored coverage, you have protections you didn’t have before the Affordable Care Act,” said Sen. Casey. “Those protections are at risk in the Senate health care bill. There’s just absolutely no question about that.”
Protections to prevent insurance companies from charging more to those with pre-existing medical conditions or imposing annual or lifetime limits.
But it’s the impact of the Republican bill on those who get Medicaid or Medicaid Expansion that really angers Sen. Casey.
“They’re taking away the guarantee of Medicaid, and I wish they would stop lying about it and be straight with the American people about what they’re doing to Medicaid,” he said. “This will decimate Medicaid, and the whole time they’re giving away the store.”
Sen. Casey says Republicans are robbing Medicaid to give tax breaks to the wealthy, and they refuse to work with Democrats to find reasonable solutions.
“They basically stiff-armed Democrats and said, ‘We don’t need you. We’re going to pass this bill without you,’” he said. “And, until yesterday, I’m not sure I heard a single Republican stand up and say they want to work with Democrats.”
No surprise, Sen. Casey’s Republican colleague, Sen. Pat Toomey, has a different take.
Sen. Toomey was one of the 12 Republican senators who drafted the first bill.
In a statement on Wednesday, Sen. Toomey said, “The Better Care Reconciliation Act is not perfect, but it is a positive step toward repairing the damages caused by Obamacare and putting Medicaid on a sustainable fiscal path.”
Sen. Toomey added he hopes Republican senators will come together quickly to repeal and replace Obamacare.