Perdue, Isakson shun the health care spotlight ahead of House nail-biter

WASHINGTON – At a time when their House colleagues are in the hot seat on health care, Georgia’s two senators are studiously avoiding the spotlight – for now.

Republican Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson have both sounded positive notes about their party’s plan for repealing and replacing Obamacare, but neither has said definitively whether they’ll back or shun the plan as-is. And neither has taken the same cable blitz route as some of their Senate colleagues in the lead-up to the House’s nail-biter of a vote, currently expected on Thursday night.

Their relative public silence is strategic and also circumstantial, in the case of Isakson.

It’s all but certain that the Senate will need to overhaul the House plan in order to win enough support for passage in the upper chamber, where leaders are hoping to pass the legislation by the end of next week. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only afford to lose two Republican votes there, and the legislation as written has already been rejected by a handful of GOP senators. Why walk the plank if many key details can and will change?

“I’m not making that comment yet,” Perdue said Tuesday after being asked about where he stood on the House plan. “There’s still a good bit of work to be done to get this thing in its final form.”

 


 

Both Perdue and Isakson have indicated they’re supportive of the GOP plan’s underlying principles and inclined to vote for the final product. The Affordable Care Act is falling apart and the federal government should have less of a role in the replacement, both argue.

“Hopefully the combination of the health savings account and the refundable tax credit benefits of this bill will put the buying power in the hands of the patient and the citizen,” Isakson said during a telephone town hall earlier this month, describing core pieces of the House plan.

Both Isakson and Perdue have raised concerns behind-the-scenes about whether Georgia, which did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, is being “treated fairly” under the House legislation. Other Georgia Republicans have fretted that other states that did expand the entitlement program would get more money from the feds under the current GOP plan.

“Our state did the right thing,” Perdue said. “I want to make sure they get treated in parity with the states that did and that our governor gets plenty of flexibility within whatever money comes from the federal government.”

Isakson has also backed a Republican proposal in the Senate that would mean test the bill’s tax credits.

Isakson has been able to avoid the health care spotlight in part because he hasn’t been in Washington this month. He’s in Georgia indefinitely as he recovers from a pair of recent back surgeries.

If the Senate does indeed move forward with a vote on the health proposal next week, Isakson may need to make an early return to D.C. since leaders are in desperate need for ‘yes’ votes.

“He’s working to get cleared to be back as soon as possible,” an Isakson spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Read more: 

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Reader Comments 0

13 comments
Judy Gordon Green
Judy Gordon Green

Stand up for Georgians not the republican party. Poor people will suffer under trumpcare. Why can't we have the same plan as Congress, we want health care too.

Pennie Hoeft
Pennie Hoeft

We want repeal! !!!!! If you want my vote. This Obama care has turned out to be NO care at great expense not to mention our student debt. REPEAL

Hank Quinn
Hank Quinn

These two! I can't believe I voted for Isakson. I feel betrayed.

Robert J. Simon
Robert J. Simon

We the ( MORAL ) people, don't want Obamacare lite !

Liz Dadin
Liz Dadin

Can't stand Isakson. Two faced as they get.

PDPDP8
PDPDP8

So obvious that you have no idea what is going on.!!!!

Tiana Kelly
Tiana Kelly

Way to go against it only after it was sure not to pass. \U0001f644

David Harris
David Harris

If the plan is so great , how come it's not good enough for senators and congressmen?

Phil Woodhall
Phil Woodhall

Of course they shun the health care spotlight. As it now stands, the bill is a disaster for all Georgians except the rich (tax cuts), and also for rural and general big city hospitals like Grady.

PDPDP8
PDPDP8

EXACTLY correct....

Bob Stults
Bob Stults

I truly don't mind my guys against this bill. I would like to hear why though. One of you being in office longer than this and Obama's bill, where is your bill JI?

Another comment
Another comment

I would predict that Isackson's double back Surgury will be reasons to prevent him from voting in DC. Two back surgeries in a 74 year old with Parkinson's clearly indicate a very serious issue with the second. It was an emergency fusion to for stabilization. Even a healthy 40 year old isn't traveling for 6 weeks Post fusion!

I have witness them wheel some elderly Senate members in for votes before. I will tell you Isackson's is not getting to DC for another 5 weeks. Then only for a vote.

He told folks on the first conference call he did not want them to loose Medicare or any health benefits. That was before Surgury 1. He will not be running again!