WSW: Upton Says He Wants Senate To Improve Health Care Bill

May 15, 2017

Credit WMUK

West Michigan Congressman Fred Upton says he expects a very different health care bill to come out of the United States Senate. Upton’s vote was seen as crucial to getting the American Health Care Act through the House.

Upton says he couldn’t vote for the bill until $8-billion was added for high risk insurance pools. He says that will help protect people with pre-existing conditions. Upton says if that’s not enough money,

“I’ll be the first in line, and I’ll get a bunch of folks to join with me to make sure that we have enough to cover this.”

Asked if he could vote for the House bill, as it is, to send to President Trump for his signature Upton says “Don’t ask me today.” He says the Senate will start from scratch, and Upton says he wants to see it improved. Upton says the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare has problems, and they are likely to get worse. He says the goal of a new health care bill should be to see premiums stabilize or go down, rather than large increases.

31 states, including Michigan expanded Medicaid under Obamacare to cover more low-income residents. The House bill continues federal funding of that expansion until 2020. Upton says since 31 states, with 62 Senators, have expanded Medicaid, the Senate bill will likely have a larger cushion for states.

Russian Influence in 2016 Election

Upton says he is not saying “no” to a special prosecutor or an independent investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election. But Upton says for now he wants to see what investigations in House and Senate produce. Upton says an independent investigation may be necessary if the current investigations get held up by something like uncooperative witnesses.

“Then we need, maybe a stronger baseball bat.”

Asked if investigations could happen concurrently, Upton says that would raise questions of who gets immunity and who doesn’t. He says it’s also not clear who would be selected as special counsel for an independent investigation.

Following the firing of FBI Director James Comey, Upton says an independent FBI that is “above reproach” is needed. Upton says he was as surprised as anyone that Comey was fired. He says the next FBI director has to have confidence of both Republicans and Democrats. Upton says his former Congressional colleague from Michigan, Mike Rogers, would be an outstanding choice.

Political Future

Upton says he is "flattered" that people from inside and outside the state have encouraged him to consider running for U.S. Senate. The St. Joseph Republican says “we’re not anywhere close to making a decision.” But Upton says he is considering it. Democrat Debbie Stabenow is in her third term in the Senate. She is up for re-election next year. Upton first won election to the U.S. House in 1986, he has served Southwest Michigan in the House ever since.