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Durbin Urges Rauner To Weigh In On Congressional Health Care Plan

CHICAGO (CBS) -- U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin again has called on Gov. Bruce Rauner to speak out on the GOP health care bill in Washington and the impact it would have on Illinois.

Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, said he and Sen. Tammy Duckworth have tried to convince Rauner to publicly weigh in on the Republican Senate plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

"Senator Duckworth and I have sent Governor Rauner four letters asking a simple question: What would the Republican repeal bill do to the state of Illinois? He said at one point, after it passed the House, he opposed it; but he never replies to these letters," he said.

The senator said Republican governors who understand the harm the GOP health care plan could do could make a difference on Capitol Hill, where the Senate plan has stalled again with four Senators opposing the latest revisions.

"This notion that we can freeze the amount of Medicaid payments in the state of Illinois, and with quote 'flexibility,' close quote, the governors can take care of all the needs? Ridiculous. It's not going to happen," Durbin said. "Because Governor [Brian] Sandoval – a Republican governor in Nevada – spoke out, his Senator [Dean] Heller came out against the bill. I would call on Governor Rauner to join those governors."

Durbin said he thinks there are political reasons why Rauner has been playing the issue so low-key.

With Senate Republicans unable to muster enough votes to repeal and replace Obamacare, it's unclear what their next step will be, but so far Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has resisted calls from some GOP senators to get input from Democrats on a health care plan.

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