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 GrahamGraham warned Pentagon chief about consequences of Africa policy: report Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony US defense chief says Taliban deal 'looks very promising' but not without risk MORE (R-S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' 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 RyanOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Paul Ryan says Biden likely won't get Democratic nomination Judd Gregg: Honey, I Shrunk The Party 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.