Ben Voelkel
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WASHINGTON — During an appearance with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Friday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) explained why he is not yet ready to support the Senate health care bill. Excerpts of Senator Johnson’s appearance are below, and video can be found here.

On his criteria for supporting the bill: “If I have enough time to evaluate the bill, get the input from Wisconsinites, how does this affect them in their lives, in the end I’ll take a look at any bill, whether it’s been modified or not, to determine if this is enough improvement over the current system to garner a yes vote. … Leadership said it was a draft open for discussion and improvement. I hope they’re being genuine about that.” 

On Medicaid: “I’ve been on the inside, I’ve been listening to the discussions on what we’re going to do with Medicaid to make it more sustainable, turn it back over to the states, where it can be managed more efficiently and effectively. I haven’t seen the final numbers, but as we’re trying to do the projections, I don’t see any year-on-year reduction in spending, which is what I’d call a cut.”

On taking enough time: “We don’t have enough time, both members and the public, to completely evaluate this bill, see the scoring, see all the debate within the public realm. Whether we have a hearing or not, this thing needs to be fully vetted. I need to have enough time to evaluate it myself and get input from Wisconsinites. I’ve been very clear with leadership about that.”

“I have a hard time believing if we take a vote the end of next week that will afford me or my constituents enough time. I am really urging leadership to take the time, get this right, get us the information so the American public can really evaluate this – and quite honestly, let’s prove some of the rhetoric false.”

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