Rep. Mark Sanford voted for the American Health Care Act, but said he stayed away from the White House Rose Garden celebration because he felt it was "dangerous" to celebrate the action on the vote too soon.
"I think it's like [President] George W. Bush going up on top of the aircraft carrier and saying 'mission accomplished,'" the South Carolina Republican, a member of the Freedom Caucus, told MSNBC Friday afternoon. "People get ahead of their skis and this can come back to bite them. You have to be careful about those things. It's a solemn and weighty issue."
Sanford said he's had many conversations with his constituents who have described situations for themselves or their loved ones in which the healthcare question means "dire consequences," and the idea of celebrating the win concerned him.
"The idea of high fiving and spiking the ball in the end zone, I think, is dangerous," Sanford continued. "Frankly, we don't know what's going to happen. Is the Senate going to take it, or not?"
Sanford said he'd originally been in the camp that did not believe the original AHCA was "worth forwarding to the Senate to continue debate," and pointed out he was one of three Republicans who voted against the measure in Budget Committee.
"But with the two amendments that came, I thought it was worth forwarding so we could have this debate in the Senate," Sanford said. "What we see coming out of the Senate may be quite different that what we saw coming over that way."
Sanford, however, does believe that his colleagues knew what was in the bill, despite at least one who admitted he had not read the whole thing.
"This stuff gets hashed out," he said. "It's on national and local news. You've got folks, both detractors and proponents, at home calling and emailing you. This stuff bubbles up."
Also, it's a "degree of political cheap shot" to criticize a congressman for not reading every word of every bill.
"It's a hot button issue," said Sanford, noting that the the original AHCA had less than 200 pages, but then dozens of additional amendments.
"But that's what you have staff for," he told MSNBC.
Earlier on Friday, Sanford told CNN that he had " turned through every page," but "as to whether I got through some of the detail in all the pages … I attempted to read the entire bill."
"I read it as thoroughly as I could," he told CNN. "The amendments, which were a bigger question for me because I already voted no, were only a couple pages long and I read through those thoroughly."
"This bill, whether you looked it or not, was reasonably vetted," said Sanford told MSNBC later in the day. "I don't like the process overall. I still think it was truncated. I still think we should have gone through a longer hearing process."
However, that wasn't his call, as House leaders wanted to tie the AHCA to reconciliation, said Sanford, and that meant it "had to move at some point of you're going to move forward with the budget...I think in terms of perfect process, you would have had more time, though."
Meanwhile, experts have claimed that one of the bill's amendments, adding $8 billion to states' high risk pools over the span of five years, is not close to being enough to cover people who need it for insurance coverage, but Sanford pointed out that there is more money than that available.
"You have $130 billion overall within the bill, and $15 billion specifically, and this was $8 billion added to the $15 billion, which is added to the other $115 billion that preceded that," said Sanford. "States are going to have the ability to use that money with regard to Medicaid or with regard to them setting up their own high-risk pools. There's going to be flexibility in the way they can use that money."
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