Cotton: Private insurance market provision a big problem in GOP healthcare proposal

Sen. Tom CottonTom CottonOvernight Cybersecurity: White House adviser ditches cyber panel over 'fake news' | Trump cyber order 'close' | GOP senator pushes for clean renewal of foreign intel law Overnight Tech: Dem wants to see FCC chief's net neutrality plans | New agency panel on telecom diversity | Trump calls NASA astronaut GOP senator pushes for clean reauthorization of foreign intel law MORE (R-Ark.) indicated Sunday the private insurance market provisions in the current GOP healthcare proposal is a larger problem than Medicaid expansion.

Cotton told host Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union" that the Medicaid expansion provided a partial solution to health insurance coverage, but the private insurance market would hurt everyday Americans.

“The Medicaid expansion, I think, needs to be part of Medicaid transformation and that's what the House bill moved forward. It can be improved to some degree, but it's about a 70 percent or 80 percent solution, Jake,” Cotton said. “The bigger problem with this legislation is on the private insurance market. I simply think that it's not going to work to bring down premiums for working Arkansans and working Americans all across the country.”

Cotton stressed that the Republicans' bill should be tougher on Medicaid accountability.

“It also ought to include tougher provisions on accountability…Medicaid is a welfare program. It's primarily designed for the indigent elderly, the disabled, the blind, and children. It's not designed for able-bodied adults. We want to get those people off of Medicaid into a job and into market-based insurance,” Cotton said.

“That's one reason why I worry that the private market provisions of this bill aren't adequate to bring down premiums, because ultimately in Arkansas, for instance, tens of thousand of people leave Medicaid every year. I want to make sure that the market insurance system is working for them so they can afford health insurance and get off Medicaid,” Cotton continued.

Cotton said that the bill in its current form needs to be fixed before it is pushed to a vote.

“We need to roll up our sleeves and fix those problems rear than trying to rush to some arbitrary deadline,” Cotton told Tapper.

Cotton also said that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price crafted a stronger healthcare proposal when he was a representative.

“I served with Tom Price in the House of Representatives and consider him a good friend. He had legislation as a congressman that I think is a lot better than the House bill currently under consideration,” Cotton said.

Cotton said earlier this month that the GOP should start over on an ObamaCare repeal and replace plan.