, , ,

Johnson To Vote For Starting Debate On Health Care Bill

Johnson's Office Stops Short Of Saying He's A 'Yes' On Revised Bill

Ron Johnson
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson says he plans to vote next week to start debate on the Senate’s health care bill.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, had been among a group of GOP senators who said they couldn’t vote for the bill. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a revised version Thursday aimed at winning support by letting insurers sell low-cost, skimpy policies and adding billions to combat opioids and help consumers with insurance costs.

Johnson spokesman Ben Voekel told the Wisconsin State Journal that Johnson now plans to vote for a motion to start debate next week on the new version of the bill. Voekel declined to say if Johnson would vote for the bill itself.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Voekel didn’t immediately reply to an Associated Press email asking about Johnson’s position on the bill.

While Johnson is pushing for debate, he’s expressing doubts the U.S. Senate will actually vote on the revised health plan. One sticking point for moderate Republicans are changes to Medicaid, which conservatives like Johnson want.

“People in Wisconsin are concerned because of the scaremongering. Let me provide some comfort: Medicaid legacy, which Wisconsin has, by and large isn’t touched by this bill. We’re focusing on Medicaid expansion,” Johnson said during a Friday morning interview with WHBY’s “Fresh Take.”

The bill would do more than just rollback Medicaid expansion, which Wisconsin did not participate in under the Affordable Care Act. The bill also slows the growth of Medicaid in future years. Critics say this will result in severe cuts to the program. Moderate Republicans have said they may not vote for the bill because of changes to Medicaid.

“You know, if we even get on the bill. That’s still up in the air. I’ve said I’m going to support it,” Johnson said of the changes to Medicaid. “I am troubled by reports that leader McConnell told moderate Republicans that don’t worry about the reductions in the rate of growth in spending in Medicaid. It’s far in the future. It’ll never happen. That’s one of the main reasons I support the bill.”

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 2:53 p.m. Thursday, July 14, 2017, to include original reporting from WPR.