Governors say no to Graham-Cassidy

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According to The Washington Post, a bipartisan group of governors have come out in opposition to Graham-Cassidy, the Republicans’ latest attempt to reform the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They are urging the Senate to take up the bipartisan proposals of Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) instead.

The governors are joined by groups like the American Hospital Association and the AARP. However, no one knows if this opposition will influence the vote in the Senate. A number of key senators, such as Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have not decided how they will vote.

The ACA provides subsidized marketplaces and tax credits to help make insurance more accessible. Under Graham-Cassidy, many of these funding mechanisms would be replaced by block grants given to the states. Graham-Cassidy also includes cuts to Medicaid.

The Senate must vote on Graham-Cassidy before the fiscal year ends on September 30. After that date, the bill will no longer be eligible for consideration under special reconciliation rules. Starting October 1, Republicans would need 60 votes, not 50, to pass any legislation.

While Alaska’s governor, Bill Walker (I), is among the governors who came out against Graham-Cassidy, Sen. Murkowski explained that there might be differences between this bill and the legislation she helped defeat in July.

Murkowski said, “If it can be shown that Alaska is not going to be disadvantaged, you gain additional flexibility. Then I can go back to Alaskans, and I can say, ‘Okay, let’s walk through this together.’”

The other senator from Alaska, Republican Dan Sullivan, also said he was unsure if he would support the legislation.

Fifteen Republican governors, including Matt Bevin of Kentucky, expressed their support for Graham-Cassidy. Vice President Mike Pence said President Trump called him to assure him of the White House’s support for the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not confirmed that a vote will be held. He and other influential Republicans are working to secure votes.

Democrats have criticized the way Republicans have used the legislative process. There will be few hearings on Graham-Cassidy and the Congressional Budget Office may not be able to fully score the bill before the 30th.

The bipartisan governors group expressed concern over Medicaid cuts and restrictions on taxing health care providers.

Other governors who signed the letter include John Kasich (R-Ohio), and Nevada governor Brian Sandoval (R)

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