Senator Barrasso Wants To Give Health Care Power Back To States

Sep 22, 2017

Wyoming’s senators are supporting a massive bill to overhaul the nation’s health care system next week.

Credit Matt Laslo

The new GOP health bill eliminates the mandate that every American must have health insurance and it ends the Obamacare subsidies that help many Wyomingites afford insurance. The new proposal does maintain some taxes under the Affordable Care Act but then sends that money back to the states as a block grant, which Wyoming Senator John Barrasso likes. 

“I’m for it. I want to get the power out of Washington and back to the states. When I was in the state Senate we talked about this. In Cheyenne, I always felt we could do a better job with the same amount of money. Covering more people, getting them better care and higher quality and more affordable if we could have made the decisions without Washington telling us how to do it.”

But GOP leaders are rushing to pass the bill and some in the party say their rush to pass anything led them to embrace a bad bill. Kentucky Republican Rand Paul is opposed to the effort. 

“The people that are putting this forward are immortalizing Obamacare. So I consider this effort to be sort of petty partisanship – they’re just taking the Obamacare money, keeping it and taking it from Democrat states and giving it to Republican states.”

But Barrasso brushes aside criticisms like that and says he likes that the bill gives states more power and does away with federal mandates.  

“If a state wants to do it very differently, let them do it. If California wants some other approach, they have a right to do it.”

The bill could also allow some states to opt out of covering those with pre-existing conditions. The bill must pass by the end of next week for the GOP to be able to pass the bill strictly along party lines, which is why Democrats are calling on them to slow down and negotiate across the aisle.