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Toomey Defends GOP Health Care Reform Effort

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey defended the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, telling Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that while he has some issues with the final product, it still fulfills many of the GOP's campaign promises.

"I think this bill is a really important step forward. It is far from perfect. It's not the way I would write the bill if I were the emperor but in our political system, such as it is, we've got to get 50 votes and I look at what this bill does, it repeals the individual mandate, it repeals the mandate on business to provide insurance, which costs us jobs, it repeals almost all of the tax increases of Obamacare. It should repeal all of them, but I lost that fight. It stabilizes the individual market, it allows states to much more easily obtain waivers so that they can be freed of all the onerous regulation and it puts Medicaid on a sustainable fiscal path. That's a pretty good litany for one bill."

Toomey hopes that Republicans can find a way to spread the cost of paying for patients with pre-existing conditions or more expensive medical needs throughout a wider range of policy holders.

"One of Obamacare's central structural flaws was deciding that the way to socialize the cost of people who have really expensive health care needs, because there's always some group of people who have just really expensive problems, is to socialize it within this pool, within this narrow sliver, we will just force younger, healthier people to pay much more than it costs to insure them and that way, we'll have enough money to cover the cost of people who are really expensive to care for. Well, concentrating all that cost on this relatively small handful of people was always going to ensure that these people would refuse to pay it. If you're asking people to pay way more than what they could reasonably consume. So, I've always felt if as a society we decide we are going to socialize this cost and, let's face it, if you're a working class family and you have a child with cystic fibrosis, the costs are staggering and almost no one can afford that, and I don't think anybody believes, well, that's tough luck for that child. We don't believe that. So, we're going to find a way to cover that cost. I think it's better to do it more directly with tax dollars, take that cost element out of this small pool and then allow everybody with ordinary health care costs to pay an ordinary premium, which would be affordable."

He stated he is open to input from a variety of groups and organizations and believes there is still more that can be done to work out a plan that can make its way into law.

"I have been speaking with health care executives, physicians, physician groups, patient advocacy groups and, definitely, insurance companies, they have an opinion. I will tell you, they are not wild about [Texas Senator Ted Cruz's] idea, and to summarize it the way I think about it is Ted's proposal if an insurance company offers an Obamacare compliant plan, one plan with all of Obamacare's regulations, including its price controls and all of its mandates, if the insurance company does that, then it is permitted to offer any other plan it likes and let the consumer decide which they want to choose. Now, that appeals to my sense of personal freedom and allowing markets to function. The problem that insurance companies are concerned about is that the Obamacare compliant plan will end up getting all of these expensive people who are sick, the people who have chronic illness. So, you know what? Maybe that becomes the high risk pool, the high cost pool that has to be subsidized. There is that category. There is a way to deal with that. I still think that that could be integrated into this bill."

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