Sen. John Barrasso: Biggest Threat to Freedom and U.S. Economy Is Government Takeover of Health Care

By Melanie Arter | April 2, 2019 | 9:04pm EDT
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

( - Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he’s concerned that the biggest threat to freedom and the U.S. economy is “the complete government takeover of health care.”

“My concern is that the biggest threat that I see to the freedom and the economy of this country is this complete government takeover of healthcare, which is where the Democrats are going, this Medicare for all, with longer lines, rationing of care, higher taxes, less freedom,” he said. “And it is now the liberal litmus test of all the Democrats running for president.”

Barrasso said the GOP health care plan that President Donald Trump tasked Barrasso and Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) with crafting as an alternative to Obamacare that will also protect pre-existing conditions will need bipartisan support.

“Every time I talk to President Trump, we talk about health care. He knows, with regard to preexisting conditions, that I'm a doctor. My wife, Bobbi, is a breast cancer survivor. She's been through surgery three times, chemotherapy twice. He knows I am 100% committed, as are Republicans, to protecting people with preexisting conditions. We are absolutely continuing to work on this, realizing that it has to be bipartisan,” he said.



“Is it a mistake for the president to have joined the lawsuit to say that Obamacare is unconstitutional? Do you want it overturned? Do you want the courts to overturn this right now? Or do you want it kept in place, until you guys figure this out?” NBC’s Chuck Todd asked.

“Well, first of all, this lawsuit isn't imminent. There's not going to be any decision on this for a couple of years, but it shouldn't be a surprise to anybody that Republicans are opposed to Obamacare. We have been for a long time,” Barrasso said.

“But for ten years, you have been. We’ve actually -- I was thinking about this. It was in '09 that we began the debate. It's 2019. You guys have been talking about having a plan to protect pre-existing conditions for ten years. And you haven't been able to come up with one. You had Congress and the presidency for two years. You haven't been able to come for one. Why should we expect it now?” Todd asked.

“You know, the Obama healthcare law, I think Republicans and Democrats agree, it has failed to keep its promises. Prices are skyrocketing and continue -- I was in Wyoming, at my medical office on Friday, talking to patients, doctors. Bronze plan, cheapest bronze plan, in Wyoming, for a family of four, $1,900. The deductible, $12,000. That's not right. The president is right. This is on the American people's minds,” Barrasso said.

“But you can't find an alternative that would make that cheaper yet and protect pre-existing conditions, correct? Or you’d have it,” Todd said.

Barrasso said the GOP has done things to lower the cost of prescription drugs, so they’re lower than they were last year, and they’ve “gotten rid of the gag order on pharmacists.”

“We have founds ways through association health plans to have people join together to get half the cost of insurance, cuts the cost, these short-term plans. We want to let people buy what they need, what's appropriate for them, so they can get the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower costs,” he said.

When asked whether the American people should expect a health care plan from Republicans this year, Barrasso said, “The American people should expect to not have to be burdened with the incredible costs that are affecting them now, as a result of the health care law.”

“Will we see a new plan from the Republican Party about what their alternative is?” Todd asked.

“I've been working on a plan since the day I got to the Senate, and it is association health plans. It is allowing people to buy what works for them. Let ranchers join together and deal with transparency. The president is right on that,” Barrasso said.

“Drug costs, which are actually coming down, there are things that are working, but we need bipartisan support at a time where the Democrats want to take over all of healthcare and eliminate insurance from 160 million Americans,” he said.


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