Heller: I hope we find 50th vote for ObamaCare repeal

Heller: I hope we find 50th vote for ObamaCare repeal
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerTexas abortion law creates 2022 headache for GOP Heller won't say if Biden won election Ex-Sen. Dean Heller announces run for Nevada governor MORE (R-Nev.) says in a new interview that he hopes ObamaCare repeal comes back up and Republicans can find the 50th vote to pass it.

“Once we have 50 votes, healthcare will come up again,” Heller, who is a top Democratic target in next year’s midterm elections, told KLAS in Nevada. “And so if you hear Washington, D.C., talking about healthcare, it’s because we found that 50th vote, and I hope we do. No one was more disappointed than myself.”

Heller argued that he had kept his promises during the voting last month because he did not vote for a bill that would have repealed ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, which Heller has said he wants to protect.

He did vote for the “skinny repeal” bill, which was a scaled-down repeal bill meant to keep the repeal process moving forward. But Heller pointed out that measure, which repealed items like ObamaCare’s mandate for people to have coverage and the medical device tax, did not touch Medicaid.

“I made that promise and I kept that commitment,” Heller said of protecting Medicaid.

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Democrats have been pounding Heller for voting for the skinny bill.

The Congressional Budget Office found that bill would result in 16 million fewer people with insurance, though much of that would come from people choosing not to have coverage in the absence of a mandate to buy it.

Heller is pushing an alternative ObamaCare replacement bill that is backed by himself and Sens. Bill CassidyBill CassidyGOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff House passes bill to prevent shutdown and suspend debt limit Louisiana delegation split over debt hike bill with disaster aid MORE (R-La.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump pushes back on book claims, says he spent 'virtually no time' discussing election with Lee, Graham The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden meets with lawmakers amid domestic agenda panic MORE (R-S.C.).

Backers of the bill have been meeting with White House officials to try to gain momentum. 

That measure seeks to give decisions to the states by taking current ObamaCare spending and giving it to states in a block grant.

“Let’s drain the swamp from healthcare, let’s get it out of Washington, D.C., and send this money to the states,” Heller said of the bill.

The bill would include major changes to Medicaid, though. It includes a cap on Medicaid spending and would convert Medicaid expansion dollars into the block grant.

The liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that spending under the bill’s block grants would be 34 percent lower than current spending by 2026, which the group warns is a dangerous cut.