Russia, Obamacare hot topics at 'Coffee and Conversation with Mike' –

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U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R) met with nearly 200 constituents at Western Dakota Technical Institute on Friday morning. Rounds took questions on a range of topics, including the Russia investigation involving the 2016 presidential election and the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

The senator was present during Thursday’s classified briefing with the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on how and why former FBI Director James Comey was fired. Rounds says Rosenstein made it clear in the briefing that there currently is no evidence of collusion, but he is being diligent and appointing a special counsel. Rounds also noted that Special Counselor Robert Mueller‘s work is not currently a criminal investigation.

“They made it very clear that is particular independent counsel is not at this point a prosecutor,” said Rounds. “This person is doing an investigation and this counselor’s responsibility is to find out the facts surrounding Russian intervention in the election and whether or not there was collusion as has been alleged with the Trump campaign.”

Rounds also noted that the three other investigations in Congress will continue.

The other hot topic was Obamacare and the American Health Care Reform Act moving to the Senate. Rounds believes with increases to insurance costs, something must be done this year.

“In South Dakota, they’re telling us we could see increases for Obamacare somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 percent,” said Rounds. “For folks that are out there that use Obamacare, they can’t afford that. In some cases, we got people right now paying more for health care than what they are for a mortgage on a house.”

Rounds wants the Senate bill to include coverage of pre-existing conditions as long as insurance in kept in force, allow portability in group plans, and keep children on their parents’ plan until age 26. After that, the senator says states should make their own decisions about Medicaid, which he believes will allow more dollars for program in the long term.