Bombshell simultaneous announcements from two Republican senators on Monday confirmed that there weren't enough votes to debate the Senate's health care bill on the floor. Those unfamiliar with Senate players may be curious to know more about Jerry Moran, a senator who opposed the health care bill and was just one of a handful of Republicans who helped bring it to a halt.
In a statement released on Monday night, Moran wrote that he opposed the newest version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) "for the same reasons [he] could not support the previous version" of the bill. While he remained critical of Obamacare (and the idea of a “single-payer system”), Moran still called the BCRA “bad policy” that he couldn’t support and condemned the "closed door process" that birthed it:
We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy. Furthermore, if we leave the federal government in control of everyday healthcare decisions, it is more likely that our healthcare will devolve into a single-payer system, which would require a massive federal spending increase. We must now start fresh with an open legislative process to develop innovative solutions that provide greater personal choice, protections for pre-existing conditions, increased access and lower overall costs for Kansas.
Looking closer at Moran's history and approach to policy, his announcement is telling about the Senate bill — and, possibly, about his future moves in healthcare reform.
Though first elected to the Senate in 2010, Moran has held office in state and national-level politics since 1989 — serving in both the Kansas State Senate and the United States House of Representatives in addition the United States Senate. Throughout his career, he has consistently identified with Republican party platforms, describing his various stances on his website as being dedicated to reducing spending, against abortion, and a staunch defender of the second amendment.
Non-partisan politics database Ballotpedia notes that, according to an analysis of outside rankings, Moran is considered "an average Republican member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Republican Party on the majority of bills."
Moran's website also highlights his record as an outspoken critic of Obamacare, which makes his move to not support the BCRA even more notable. According to his campaign "priorities" page, Moran was the first representative to file legislation to repeal Obamacare during his time in the House of Representatives.
However, as noted by the Washington Post, Moran was also one of the few Republican Senators to hold a town hall meeting during Congress' recess in early July. At his July 6 town hall (that brought 150 Kansans out of the woodwork), he said that he had heard from constituents who had a variety of feelings on keeping or repealing Obamacare and that he was "not necessarily," at the time, committed to voting either way.
Per the Washington Post, he said:
It’s worthy of a national debate that includes legislative hearings. It needs to be less politics and more policy.
While healthcare activists will undoubtedly be somewhat relieved by Moran's announcement, his statement and history as a critic of the Affordable Care Act indicate that his refusal to support the Senate bill shouldn't be mistaken for a move to save Obamacare.