Virginia GOP gov candidate says ObamaCare repeal effort 'falls short'

Virginia GOP gov candidate says ObamaCare repeal effort 'falls short'
© Greg Nash

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie (R) on Tuesday appeared to distance himself from the bill co-sponsored by Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senators introduce bill targeting Palestinian 'martyr payments' Bipartisan senators earmark billion to support democracies globally Democrats see Christmas goal slipping away MORE (R-S.C.) and Bill CassidyBill CassidySunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist Legislators look to expand health care access through telehealth, biosimilars Infrastructure deal is proof that Congress can still do good, bipartisan work MORE (R-La.), a last-ditch effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

During a debate with opponent Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D), the Republican said that while he supports a bill intended to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, the one put forth by Graham and Cassidy doesn't protect states that chose not to expand Medicaid.

"Premiums have skyrocketed here in the Commonwealth — the fact is we do need to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act," Gillespie said Tuesday. But, he argued, such a bill can't "punish" Virginia for not expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare.

"Graham-Cassidy falls short of that," he said.

His comments come as Senate Republicans are making a last-ditch attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare before the Sept. 30 budget reconciliation deadline. President Trump and Vice President Pence have reportedly both been active in supporting the senators crafting the legislation.

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Northam and current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), meanwhile, oppose the legislation. McAuliffe blasted the bill yesterday as "nothing more than a tax cut for the rich"  

“This backdoor effort to force through legislation without waiting for a [Congressional Budget Office] score or even holding as much as a single hearing is totally unacceptable," McAuliffe said Monday.

Republican lawmakers in Washington are marshaling support for the bill, which House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFormer Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98 No time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power MORE (R-Wis.) called the party's "last, best hope" to repeal former President Obama's signature health-care law.

“We hope the Senate does pass Graham-Cassidy. We’re encouraged by the development of Graham-Cassidy,” Ryan said at a town hall meeting Monday.

“And I am encouraging every senator to vote for Graham-Cassidy, because it is our best, last chance to get repeal and replace done," he added.