Sen. Thune says "one-size-fits-all solution" to health care won't work

Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota says a "one-size-fits-all solution" for health care "isn't going work," as Republicans try to secure more support to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

"I think what we're hearing from our members is every state is different, every state has different populations, governors have different ideas, and I think anything that's effective and ultimately passes the Senate is going to have to distribute and shift authority and power and flexibility back to the states," Thune, a member of the GOP Senate leadership, said in an interview with "CBS This Morning" Thursday.

Thune's comments came after a GOP luncheon at the White House on Wednesday, where President Trump urged members to produce results.

"I'm ready to act, I have pen in hand, believe me. I'm sitting in that office, I have pen in hand," Mr. Trump said. "You know, for seven years you had an easy route. We'll repeal, we'll replace, and he's never going to sign it. But I'm signing it."

But while Mr. Trump is urging action, Thune says the Senate is close, but not close enough, to securing the 50 votes necessary to proceed with a bill.

"I would say we're going to need a little longer runway," said Thune.

He added, "We're getting close we are but we still have some issues we have to resolve and get got some members who aren't quite there yet, we don't have the 50 votes that we're going to need to get across the finish line just yet." 

And now, another factor complicating the GOP's efforts is Sen. John McCain's brain cancer diagnosis and surgery this week. It's not yet certain when he will return to Washington, so for the time being, there are just 51 Republicans in the Senate, and if two decline to support the procedural motion to move the bill forward next week, the straight repeal measure will fail.

Thune noted that while Mr. Trump and the administration have the bully pulpit, it's up to Congress to "get this done."

"The Senate has the responsibility to act and the American people will and should hold us accountable," he added.

Thune said that the McCain's brain cancer diagnosis made for an "incredibly sad day on Capitol Hill," and he called McCain "relentless," and "a warrior" as he fights his second bout against cancer. 

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital