PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s independent senator says he wants to take a cautious, deliberate approach to a health care overhaul proposed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Sen. Angus King caucuses with the Democrats and is one of two independents in the Senate, along with Sanders. King says Sanders’ proposal constitutes a “sweeping change” and Congress needs to know more about the price tag and how it would affect consumers.

Sanders’ proposal would give government a much bigger role in insuring Americans. It has attracted 16 Democratic co-sponsors.

King says Congress needs to talk about universal health coverage in committee, holding hearings and make sure any new plans would protect the interests of rural people. He also says it’s important to strengthen the Affordable Care Act for people who rely on it now.