Democratic governors voice concern over Senate GOP healthcare bill

Amos Gonzales
July 17, 2017

"I would say, for the most part, governors are anxious to make sure that they have the capacity and ability to make sure they can serve their populations, their constituents, in the best way they can", Baker told reporters in the afternoon. Two GOP senators are already opposed to measure and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can not afford to lose even one more vote.

Republicans attending the summer gathering were more receptive. Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval also said he's told Pence he's concerned about the bill's cuts to Medicaid. "Give the states the control and the flexibility and we'll take care of the problem".

Bevin has been a strident opponent of the Affordable Care Act, calling it an "unmitigated disaster" in Kentucky because of higher premiums for some consumers and increased costs for taxpayers. Many of those governors see the impact this crisis is having on people in their state and they're saying enough is enough. Last year, about 60,000 US deaths were attributed to drug overdoses, two-thirds of them caused by opioids. That could hit especially hard in Alabama, a relatively poor state where about one million people receive some form of Medicaid coverage.

The Trump administration mounted a full-court effort in Providence, recognizing the resistance not only by Sandoval but other Republican governors who are potentially influential with their state's senators.

The revised Senate GOP proposal still calls for cutting $772 billion from Medicaid over the next 10 years by phasing out the expansion program and making deep cuts starting in 2025.

"I'm delighted with the significant amount of time devoted to this, with the Senate trying to get it right and not just pass something", Hutchinson said.

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Arkansas is among the states that expanded the program under the Obama-era law.

"What I'm anxious will happen is that millions more will lose insurance, that Medicare and Medicaid will be cut", said McCleary. He said he doesn't want to "pull the rug out" from them.

"Oftentimes veterans will use their Medicaid coverage to get primary care", Callow said. "They're living healthier and happier lives as a result of their receiving coverage. It's about people. This is about people". It would allow insurers to sell low-priced, skimpy policies and would add billions to combat opioid abuse and help states rein in consumers' skyrocketing insurance costs.

State agencies and CVS Health are partnering to expand addiction recovery options and combat the growing opioid epidemic.

Pence is introducing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and says the Trump administration is looking forward to renegotiating NAFTA in a way that will equally benefit the USA and Canada.

Earlier in the day, Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, and Seema Verma, the Medicaid administrator, received a cold reception from governors of both major parties at a closed-door meeting.

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