Johnson says ‘very ill advised’ comments from McConnell put health care bill at risk

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said “very ill advised” comments by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, if true, jeopardize the Republican health care reform bill and Johnson’s support of it.

Appearing on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” Johnson made clear that he had to confirm McConnell made the remarks about future Medicaid spending, but if true, they are “very ill advised comments that puts the whole process at risk.”

Johnson, who last week said he would support a motion to proceed on the bill, is now questioning that support.

“One thing that is going to change my calculus, potentially, are some comments by Leader McConnell, apparently made to some moderate senators that are asking for more spending, throw more money at a problem, said ‘Don’t worry about the chained in Medicaid CPI, this goes so far in the future it’ll never be implemented,’” Johnson said on the show, which is produced in conjunction with WisPolitics.com.

“That’s a real concern to me in terms of our ability to trust whatever’s being promised in the bill we’re being presented,” Johnson said.

He said the bill does not go far enough in “throttling back on Medicaid expansion,” which he said “puts at risk legacy Medicaid that covers elderly, children, disabled.”

Johnson said senators should be looking at eventually phasing out the Medicaid expansion done under former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which Republicans are trying to repeal and replace.

Johnson would not offer a prediction on whether the GOP bill would ultimately pass. But he said he is thinking about alternatives, including asking Democrats for help on bipartisan solutions.

“We should have started out the conversation focusing on the damage done by Obamacare, pointing out that it was Democrats who gave us this mess, and asking them to help fix it,” Johnson said.

Gousha also asked Johnson about the meeting Donald Trump Jr. took with Russians who were offering incriminating information on Hillary Clinton.

“I don’t think anybody should be meeting with foreign agents, or people that represent foreign governments, particularly those that are, I’ll call them, unfriendly adversaries to America. That just should not be part of politics,” Johnson said.

Also on the program, Milwaukee-area businessman Andy Gronik discussed his bid for governor in 2018.

Gronik, a Democrat, said he has spent his career building businesses, while incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker has spent his drawing government paychecks.

“I’m not a politician. I’m here because when I look at the state of Wisconsin, I’ve been here my whole life,” Gronik said. “What’s happening in Wisconsin right now, it just isn’t my Wisconsin and I don’t think it’s our Wisconsin.”

Gronik said families are struggling, with parents working two or three jobs.

“It was time to step up and declare myself a candidate, because we can do so much better in our state,” Gronik said.

Gronik said he would work to undo Act 10, Walker’s signature law restricting collective bargaining for public employees.

“Bring people back to the table, bring our public employees back to the table,” Gronik said. “Look at all of the issues, both with salary and benefits, and put a package together that inspires world class teaching, world class learning. That’s what we need to do. That’s the Wisconsin that it’s always been for my entire life. That’s where we need to go in the future.”

See more from the show:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

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