Sen. Tom Cotton on Health Insurance: ‘We Have to Revisit It’

Susan Jones | March 27, 2017 | 4:41am EDT
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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) discusses the future of heath care on CBS's "Face the Nation" with John Dickerson on Sunday, March 26, 2017. (Screen grab from CBS)

( – Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), one of the Republicans who opposed the now-tabled House health care bill, says the U.S. health care system is “groaning under the weight of Obamacare, so we have to revisit it.”

“We now have the time to do it in a more deliberate and careful fashion,” Cotton told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“Health care is a very complicated issue. To release a bill that was written in secret and then expect to pass it in 18 days, I just don't think it's feasible.”

Cotton said 18 days is not enough time to solve a problem that encompasses one-sixth of the nation’s economy and touches Americans very personally:

When the Democrats came to power in 2009, for 60 years at least, they had been pursuing a national health care system, yet they didn't introduce legislation for eight months. They didn't pass it for over a year of Barack Obama's first term. So it went through very public hearings and took testimony, developed a fact-based foundation of knowledge.

President Obama traveled around the country, held town halls. He spoke to a joint session of Congress. I am not saying that we needed 14 months to do this, but I think a more careful and deliberate approach, which we now have time to do, because we are going to have to revisit health care anyway, would have gotten us further down the path towards a solution.

I believe that both conservatives and moderates in the House made a lot of concessions already. And I have friends like Jim Jordan in the Freedom Caucus and Charlie Dent in the Tuesday Group. And I know that they are both good men. They want to work together. They want to try to find a solution that both they and everyone in between can agree to. With time, I think we can do that.

Cotton said while Congress continues to deliberate over health care, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price can “undertake regulations designed to lift some of the worst harms of Obamacare and try to give some people relief.”

Cotton also pointed to “must-pass” legislation coming up later this year – the Children's Health Insurance Program.

“It is very important to a lot of Democrats. By that point, I hope that we can reach some kind of consensus where we can try to do away with the worst problems of Obamacare that can only be addressed by legislation,” he said.

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