We asked 8 Senate Republicans to explain what their health bill is trying to do


Senate Republicans can’t answer simple and critical questions about the health care bill they’re crafting in secret.

Some still can’t say what it’s trying to do — other than garner enough votes to pass the Senate — or how they believe it will improve the American health care system.

With the bill’s text still not released for public view, Vox asked GOP senators to explain their hopes for it. Who will benefit from the legislation? What problems is this bill trying to solve?

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“All of them,” Sen. John McCain said in an interview, not an uncharacteristic response of his Republican Senate colleagues.

Over the course of the past week, Vox asked eight Republican senators to explain the affirmative case for the bill. They rarely answered directly, at least not on the bill’s policy merits.

Sometimes a senator could identify a desired outcome, like “lowering premiums” or “stabilizing marketplaces.” But they rarely could explain the mechanism through which they planned on achieving that outcome.

How will Republicans lower premiums? “It’s working together and coming up with a bill that does do that,” Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas said. What tool will bring stability to Obamacare’s volatile exchanges? “By bringing certainty to the insurance market,” Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said. What new policy will lead tax cuts to lower premiums? “It’s teetering because the exchanges are failing,” Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi explained.

Read for yourself. Here are the transcripts of our eight interviews with Republican senators.