Healthcare

GOP senator won’t vote to defund Planned Parenthood

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) says she will not vote for an ObamaCare repeal bill that defunds Planned Parenthood. 

In her address to Alaska’s state legislature Wednesday, the moderate Republican offered her firmest commitment yet that she will not support defunding Planned Parenthood. 

“I, for one, do not believe that Planned Parenthood has any place in our deliberations on the Affordable Care Act,” she said.

“Taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for abortions, but I will not vote to deny Alaskans access to the health services that Planned Parenthood provides.”

{mosads}Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters last month that cutting off federal funding for Planned Parenthood would be included in the same bill they use to repeal ObamaCare. 

Republicans, who have a 52-seat majority, plan to use reconciliation to pass that bill, a budget tactic that will require only 50 Senate votes instead of 60.  

Murkowski joined another Republican moderate, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), and former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) in 2015 to try to strip a provision defunding Planned Parenthood from the Senate’s ObamaCare repeal bill. 

It’s unclear if Murkowski or Collins plan to introduce a similar provision. 

Murkowski also expressed qualms about repealing ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, which funded expansion of the program for 32 states, including Alaska. 

“Here in Alaska, some 27,000 Alaskans — 28,000, actually — now have coverage for the first time. Which means they have access to care for the first time. While I clearly have concerns about the expansion’s long-term costs, it has strengthened our native health system and reduced the number of uninsured that are coming into our emergency rooms,” Murkowski said. 

“So as long as this legislature wants to keep the expansion, Alaska should have the option — so I will not vote to repeal it.”

It’s unclear what the state legislature wants to do, but Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) moved to expand Medicaid in 2015 without the support of state lawmakers. 

Other Republican senators from expansion states have expressed concerns about repealing the Medicaid expansion. Some Republican governors are also pushing to keep the expansion and will meet with President Trump next week. 

Tags Lisa Murkowski Mark Kirk Paul Ryan Susan Collins
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