Hatch: It’s time to move on from healthcare gridlock

Following the Senate’s failure to take action on health care last week, Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, announced that he plans to move on to tax reform.

Hatch left the door open to return to healthcare before the end of the year, but cited a lack of consensus on how to best address the issues of our healthcare system, and a need for the Senate to address other critical issues facing the American people.

“There’s just too much animosity and we’re too divided on health care,” Hatch toldReuters. “I think we ought to acknowledge that we can come back to healthcare afterwards but we need to move ahead on tax reform.” Speaking of the need to address healthcare issues eventually, Hatch later told reporters, “we’re going to have to face it and try and do what needs to be done,” but also said that he would inform the White House that the Senate will be moving on to address other parts of their agenda for the time being.

Other members of the Senate leadership team soon followed suit, with Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) saying “it’s time to move on and put wins on the board.” Senator John Thune (R-SD), the Senate’s third-ranking Republican, said “until somebody shows us a way to get that elusive 50th vote, I think it’s over.” 

On the issue of the cost-sharing subsidy payments the administration has been making, Hatch said the Senate would need to appropriate that money to meet prior obligations. President Trump had previously threatened to cut off these subsidies, which help insurers keep deductibles down for low-income people who get health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges.

“I’m for helping the poor, always have been. And I don’t think they should be bereft of healthcare,” Hatch said.