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Tags: James Lankford | GOP | Senate | repeal and replace

Sen. Lankford on GOP Health Bill: 'Solid Undecided'

CNN's "The Lead"

By    |   Thursday, 22 June 2017 06:14 PM EDT

Sen. James Lankford said Thursday that he was a "solid undecided" after Republican leaders in his chamber presented their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

"I'm going through it," the Oklahoma Republican told Jake Tapper on CNN. "I have a lot of questions still, a lot of things we have talked about.

"It's 142 pages of text, but there's things piled into that text that we've got to decipher.

"Put me down as a solid undecided," Lankford said. "I'm quite confident we will have quite a few suggestions over the weekend."

Lankford, who is in his first term, was among many GOP members voicing a wide range of concerns on the Senate's draft of the American Health Care Act.

Four members of the upper chamber – Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin – said they would not support the bill.

The legislation was unveiled after weeks of work in secrecy by a 13-member group headed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also of Kentucky.

"I've identified about six areas where I have problems and suggestions," Lankford told Tapper. "None of those are show-stoppers, but things there are problems we need to fix before we get this into law."

One concern was that the healthcare plan raises the number of Americans receiving Medicaid, not lowering it.

"There is no cut in Medicaid," Lankford said. "In fact, there's a pretty dramatic increase in Medicaid over the next eight years.

"And eight years from now, there's a reduction in the growth.

"So, right now, Medicaid is growing at a much lower rate, around 2 percent or so. This increases Medicaid spending to about 3.5 to 4 percent a year.

"It's a dramatic increase in Medicaid for multiple years out and then slows down the growth at some point."

Other Republicans were cautious on the Senate bill, emphasizing they were evaluating the legislation.

"I will carefully review this legislation to ensure that if it were to become law, it would be beneficial to the people of South Carolina," Sen. Lindsey Graham said.

"I would prefer to address healthcare reform in a bipartisan manner, but Democrats are unwilling to work with President [Donald] Trump and Congressional Republicans to fix the mess they created."

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said "I look forward to examining this new proposal carefully and reviewing the analysis by the Congressional Budget Office when it is available.

"If the final legislation is good for Ohio, I will support it," he added. "If not, I will oppose it."

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller said he had "serious concerns about the bill's impact on the Nevadans who depend on Medicaid.

"As I have consistently stated," Heller added, "if the bill is good for Nevada, I'll vote for it and if it's not – I won't."

Others, still, took to Twitter:

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Sen. James Lankford said Thursday he was a "solid undecided" after Republican leaders in his chamber presented their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
James Lankford, GOP, Senate, repeal and replace
Thursday, 22 June 2017 06:14 PM
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