On Monday evening, Senator Susan Collins announced her opposition to the Graham-Cassidy health care reform bill. The decision effectively killed the bill in its current state with its current opposition which could have had a significant impact on CNN’s Monday night health care town hall that was supposed to focus on the proposal. However, CNN is not one to let an obstacle like this get in the way of its special political coverage.
The town hall, which included Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), was originally intended to be a debate on the Cassidy-Graham health care proposal. However, the town hall instead shifted to the “future of town hall” as co-moderator Dana Bash put it. The Republican senators largely talked about their principles when it comes to health care and sometimes cited their legislation. Senators Klobuchar and Sanders largely kept their fire trained on the Cassidy-Graham legislation, but sometimes advocated for changes to Obamacare as well. Sanders also brought up his support for Medicare for All.
Senators Cassidy and Graham also largely advocated for controlling health care spending at the federal level and shifting the matter to the states. Early in the debate, Klobuchar brought up a personal experience of going to her state legislature as a private citizen to advocate for a change in hospital law. Cassidy then returned to her anecdote several times throughout the night using it as an example of why states should be in charge of health care and how her story would only be possible in a state-run system.
The senators did also agree on topics, like the high cost of pharmaceuticals, and acted cordial and friendly, frequently reminding the crowd that they do in fact like each other, throughout the night.