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Sen. King: $1 Trillion In Costs Shifted To Patients Under Senate Healthcare Bill

The costs are going to be shifted over to the states or to the individuals who are going to lose their coverage.
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Chris Cuomo interviewed Sen. Angus King this morning about Mitch McConnell's plan to push through a health care bill in the next two weeks.

"What do you make of the urgency and what do you make of the talk of what this bill will be comprised of?" Cuomo asked.

"I haven't heard anything resembling details, let alone the overall structure," King said.

"But here we are again with something developed literally in secret. I know many Republicans that don't know what's in it. It's going to come out, maybe tomorrow, there will be a congressional budget analysis on Monday maybe, and then they're talking about a vote next week.

"Why not slow down and do it in the normal course of business? Have a hearing, get some information, let experts from around the country, from hospitals, from physicians, from advocates, from people that want to fix it, whatever the point of view is, let's get some information. This place doesn't work well when a few people put something together behind closed doors and spring it on the rest of it.

"That's just not the way the process is supposed to work."
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"I heard a philosophical argument made by a Republican on the show recently that I want your response to," Cuomo said.

"He said, 'You know, we have to figure out what we can afford. We're spending too much. We can't keep spending it. We're going to spend what we can, and that's all.' My counterargument was, 'But you're taking a lot of money out of the system and giving it in tax breaks -- you'd be giving the money in the health care plan from those who are the neediest on Medicaid.

"What's your point about the philosophy of we're spending too much, we must spend less and that's what this is about?"

"He's absolutely right. We spend almost twice as much per capita for health care in this country as anybody else in the world," King said.

"Our outcomes aren't that much better -- in fact, in many cases, they're worse. So there is a problem of spending. I think that's the basic issue, whether it's Medicaid, Medicare, Anthem or whoever. His solution he proposed to you is, 'so we're going to stop spending it on the federal level.'

"What that really means is those costs, which aren't going to go away, are going to be shifted over to the states or to the individuals who are going to lose their coverage."

King said he doesn't think that's a solution to say it costs too much and we won't pay it anymore.

"That doesn't make the costs disappear. It's just shifting them to somebody else," he said.

"As you said, it's about a trillion out of the original bill we saw a couple weeks ago, $1.1 trillion over ten years out of the medical system. You can't do that without hurting people."

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