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State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, said she would have supported the Graham-Cassidy health care proposal if she had been in the U.S. Senate when it was introduced.

Vukmir, who is running against Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson in the Republican primary to challenge Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, said Tuesday that health care — particularly repealing and replacing Obamacare — is one of the issues she hears most about as she talks to voters throughout the state.

The Graham-Cassidy proposal, which was supported by Sen. Ron Johnson, would have replaced the Obamacare structure of cost-sharing, tax credits and Medicaid expansion with block grants offered to states each year. It also would have eliminated the Affordable Care Act's individual and employer mandates and its medical device tax.

The proposal "wasn't perfect," but it would have given states more power and flexibility, Vukmir said. 

Vukmir also supports eliminating the "individual mandate" component of the ACA, she said.

"Everyone should be given a choice whether or not and what type of insurance they would like," Vukmir said. "Government should not be mandating whether they have insurance."

Successfully repealing and replacing Obamacare would result in a system that allows consumers to make informed choices with full awareness of cost, like one would when choosing an auto repair shop, she said.

"We need transparency. We need the ability to have control over our health care dollars," Vukmir said. 

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Vukmir dismissed so-called "Medicare for All" proposals as "absurd."

"We can’t afford it. People will not get the care and the quality. I think we have an amazing system of health care in this state," Vukmir said.

Cost estimates for the single-payer plan introduced by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders range from $16 trillion to $32 trillion over 10 years.

Baldwin, who has said she "proudly" supports the single-payer bill, also supports efforts to allow people age 55 and older to buy into Medicare, create a public option in the Affordable Care Act and allow people to buy into Medicaid — or, in Wisconsin, BadgerCare.

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Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.