Friday, June 23, 2017

Governors want to protect Medicaid for vulnerable Americans

The Nevada Independent reported last week that Sandoval, other governors say ACA repeal bill ‘calls into question’ health care coverage for vulnerable Americans. They were responding to the House AHCA bill that is intended to dismantle Obamacare in their letter addressed to Senators McConnell and Schumer. I can safely speculate that they are even less pleased after their letter had no effect at all on McConnell’s role-out of an even meaner bill yesterday (Thursday, June 22).

Here is some of the Independent’s story.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and a group of bipartisan governors said the AHCA health care bill proposed by Congressional Republicans could jeopardize coverage for the most vulnerable citizens and puts the burden of health care costs on the states in a letter to Senate leadership Friday.

The seven governors wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., stressing that they believe Congress should prioritize improving health care in the United States, including controlling costs and stabilizing the market for millions of Americans who grapple with mental illness, chronic health problems and drug addiction. But they said the plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act passed by the House in May “does not meet these challenges.”

“It calls into question coverage for the vulnerable and fails to provide the necessary resources to ensure that no one is left out, while shifting significant costs to the states,” the governors wrote. “Medicaid provisions included in this bill are particularly problematic. Instead, we recommend Congress address factors we can all agree need fixing.”

Sandoval was the first Republican governor to embrace Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and has said that he won’t support a plan that doesn’t cover the more than 300,000 low-income Nevadans who benefitted from it.

The letter was also signed by Republican Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and Charles Baker of Massachusetts and Democratic Govs. John Hickenlooper from Colorado, Steve Bullock from Montana, Tom Wolf from Pennsylvania and John Bel Edwards from Louisiana.

Notice that another Republican Governor , Doug Ducey of Arizona, did not sign the letter. Was he given an opportunity to do so? Or was he not interested in protecting over 400,000 Arizonans who would be affected by drastic cuts to Medicaid.

Nationally the picture is very bleak for millions who benefited from the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, that is, if the Senate votes for the GOP bill. Familiesusa.org reported that 32 states had joined that expansion with 14,409,400 people covered by that expansion.

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