Connect to Congress: Johnson among Republicans not supporting GOP health plan

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, right, speaks with FOX 11's Robert Hornacek June 23, 2017, on Good Day Wisconsin.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, right, speaks with FOX 11's Robert Hornacek June 23, 2017, on Good Day Wisconsin. (WLUK/Scott Hurley)

(WLUK) -- One day after Senate Republicans unveiled their version of a new health care bill, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, joined FOX 11's Robert Hornacek to talk about the bill.

Johnson is one of four Republican senators who voiced concerns about the Republican plan on Thursday. The other senators who shared Johnson's concerns are Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah.

Johnson told FOX 11 he's open to negotiations with leadership but at this time is not ready to vote for the plan.

“I've been telling leadership that I'm not going to vote yes until I've convinced myself that I should vote yes,” Johnson said.

Johnson says he wants people to have more freedom when it comes to buying health insurance.

“It's giving the individuals the freedom to purchase the health insurance products that they can afford that fits their situation. That was taken away from them in Obamacare and it's all these mandates that have artificially driven up the cost of insurance on the individual market,” Johnson said.

Shortly after the 142-page bill was distributed, more than a half-dozen GOP lawmakers signaled concerns or initial opposition. McConnell, R-Ky., has little margin for error: Facing unanimous Democratic opposition, "no" votes by just three of the 52 GOP senators would sink the legislation.

McConnell, eager to approve the legislation next week, indicated he was open to changes before it reaches the Senate floor. But he said it was time to act.

"No amount of eleventh hour reality-denying or buck-passing by Democrats is going to change the fact that more Americans are going to get hurt unless we do something," he said.

Democrats said the GOP measure would take coverage away from people and raise their out-of-pocket costs, all in the name of paring taxes on the wealthy.

"This bill may change, but Republicans will only be putting lipstick on a devastating blow to Americans' health care," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

“I'm not necessarily on board with all of the tax cuts that are being proposed right now, particularly for maintaining the subsidies. We have to pay for those things. I'm highly concerned about $20-trillion in debt, mortgaging our kids’ future,” Johnson told FOX 11.

With a possible vote next week, Johnson says he wants more time to review the plan.

“We're more than open to working with leadership to get us to a yes but also, making sure that I get the input from constituents in Wisconsin, from the hospitals, from patients, from people that are uninsured right now because they can't afford the coverage. I want to have the time to get that type of input before I'm forced to vote on this,” Johnson said.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.