Governors voice resistance to Senate health bill
Governors on both sides of the aisle came out on Friday against Senate Republicans’ revised plan to overhaul the country’s healthcare system, as the White House launched a forceful bid to win over GOP governors.
At an annual summer meeting of the nation’s governors in Providence, R.I., both Republicans and Democrats voiced misgivings about the measure, which largely echoed the concerns of fellow partisans in the Senate.
Some moderate Senate Republicans have voiced concern over the bill’s deep cuts to Medicaid and the effects that it could have on the private ObamaCare insurance markets. Conservative members have said that the bill does not go far enough to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican whose state accepted the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, said that he feared that the bill’s deep cuts to Medicaid could rip insurance away from those who gained coverage under the ACA.
“I have to be comfortable that those 210,000 lives are going to continue to enjoy the quality of life and health care that they have right now,” he said, according to The New York Times.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, another Republican, met with Vice President Pence during the governors’ meeting, but told The Washington Post that he was still uncertain about whether he would support the healthcare bill.
He said that his office has been in touch with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) about language that could make the measure more palatable for the governor.
“It needs work,” he told the Post. “We’re communicating with Senator McCain. We’ve given him specific language that we think will dramatically improve the bill, and the ball’s in the Senate’s court.”
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) likewise told the Post that he had been in contact with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) about the bill. While it is “moving in the right direction,” he said, he cannot yet support the measure.
Among the most vocal GOP critics of Senate’s original healthcare bill was Ohio Gov. John Kasich. He did not attend the meeting in Providence on Friday, but said in a statement that the revised version of the measure was “still unacceptable.”
“Its cuts to Medicaid are too deep and at the same time it fails to give states the ability to innovate in order to cope with those reductions,” he said in a statement.
Pence called out Kasich in a speech at the governors’ meeting, saying that the Ohio governor should be “very troubled to know that in Ohio alone, nearly 60,000 disabled citizens are stuck on waiting lists, leaving them without the care they need for months or even years.”
But a spokesman for Kasich told the Post that Pence’s statement was inaccurate.
Senate Republican leaders are hoping to hold a final vote on the revised healthcare bill next week. But so far, at least two GOP senators have said they will not vote to approve the measure, meaning the bill is just one Republican defection away from failure.