GOP senator: McConnell telling moderates Medicaid cuts won't happen
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Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Sen. Cassidy plans to bring down Medicaid Senate committee schedules hearing on health care block grants MORE (R-Wis.) is warning that Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE's pitch that some Medicaid cuts included in the GOP ObamaCare repeal bill won't happen could undermine the legislation's chances. 

Johnson said the bill could be "in jeopardy" after he confirmed with his GOP colleagues that the Kentucky Republican is privately telling members that some of the bill's efforts to reform and scale back Medicaid will never go into effect. 

"I've confirmed those [remarks] from senators [who] those comments were made to, so I find those comments very troubling," the Wisconsin Republican told reporters Monday night. 

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He added that "last week I was strongly urging colleagues to vote motion to proceed, I'm not doing that right now."
McConnell pushed back on Monday night, saying Johnson doesn't speak for him and that he supports the Medicaid cuts currently in the bill. 
 
“I prefer to speak for myself, and my view is that the Medicaid per capita cap with a responsible growth rate that is sustainable for taxpayers is the most important long-term reform in the bill. That is why it has been in each draft we have released," he said. 

Johnson initially said last week that he would vote to take up the bill, but repeatedly sidestepped saying on Monday night if he would help the bill get over the hurdle. He's expecting to discuss the issue with McConnell during a closed-door GOP lunch on Tuesday. 

McConnell has no room for error. With a 52-seat majority and Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Ryan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Collins skeptical of new ObamaCare repeal effort MORE (R-Maine) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program MORE (R-Ky.) expected to vote 'no,' he can't afford another GOP defection. 

Johnson — who was largely written off by GOP leadership during last year's election — added that he viewed McConnell's private comments to his colleagues as "troubling" and a "real breach of trust." 

McConnell is telling them " 'Don't worry about it. Those are too far in the future. Those will never happen,' " Johnson told reporters about McConnell's pitch. "All I can say is I confirmed that talking to other senators." 

Johnson was one of four conservative senators who came out against the initial draft of the repeal bill. He added on Monday night that the GOP bill wasn't "the bill I would write. Not by a long shot." 

Medicaid has emerged as a key sticking point for Republicans as they try to get 50 GOP senators to support their repeal and replace bill. Johnson told reporters he wants Medicaid expansion ended in order to protect "legacy" Medicaid. 

But several GOP senators, many from states that expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare, remain on the fence and huddled with McConnell in his office late last week. Some of the bill's deepest cuts to the program could happen in 2026, which could give lawmakers time to scale them back.

Federal Medicaid funding could drop by as much as 39 percent over the next two decades under Senate Republicans' healthcare plan, according to a report presented at the National Governors Association meeting.