Jerry Moran tells rural Kansan town hall he's still against Sena - KCTV5

Jerry Moran tells rural Kansan town hall he's still against Senate health care bill

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FILE - In this March 8, 2016, file photo, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., asks a question of Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) FILE - In this March 8, 2016, file photo, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., asks a question of Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

By Ashley Killough CNN

PALCO, Kansas (CNN) -- Republican Sen. Jerry Moran said Thursday he's still opposed to the current Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, telling a packed town hall in northwest Kansas that he's concerned about the bill's impact on the state's rural population.

"What I would say is that I would not vote for the bill that's in front of the Senate today," he told a gaggle of reporters outside after the event, as sweat dripped down his brow on a hot summer day. "I've outlined broad criteria by which I would judge a bill, and we'll see if any, if that bill changes in a way that I find satisfactory."

Close to 150 people crammed into a room here in Palco -- coming close to the size of the town's population of about 200 -- to attend one of the only town halls being held by a Republican senator during this week's holiday recess.

Many of the attendees came from nearby counties in this rural part of the state and peppered Moran with polite, though detailed, questions about the plan. Unlike many Republican town halls this year, Moran's event struck a tone of patience and friendly discourse, with few interruptions and boo's from those who disagreed with him.

Moran, who took questions at the town hall for nearly an hour and a half, said the Senate needs to find a way to still take care of those who benefited from Obamacare but also solve problems for people who were negatively affected by the law -- a proposition he called "difficult" and "almost impossible" to resolve with 51 votes in the Senate.

Moran said he couldn't predict whether the Senate was close to coming to a vote on health care after it reconvenes next week.

"I can't tell. I think there are many senators -- more senators than that are having town hall meetings -- more senators out there that have genuine concerns with this legislation," he told reporters, though few other town halls from Republicans senators have been scheduled.

Asked what he thought about President Donald Trump's suggestion to repeal Obamacare now then work on a replacement measure later, Moran expressed skepticism that it could work but also hinted that it might spur senators into action.

"Maybe if that happened, it would be the desire on the part of all members of the US Senate to work together to find a replacement," he said. "That would be very appealing."

Moran wouldn't say whether he's been in talks with Republican leadership during the recess.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who can only afford to lose two Republicans to pass the bill, faces a tough battle of trying to win over a group of about at least 10 Republicans -- including Moran -- who currently oppose the bill for a wide variety of reasons that spans the ideological spectrum.

While Republican leaders were hoping to hold a vote before the Senate broke for recess, McConnell announced last week that it would delay the vote and continue negotiations. That decision came as more GOP opposition was bubbling up and a CBO score estimated 22 million people would lose health insurance by 2026 under the plan.

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