Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 - SENATE BILL
Senate Republican upgrade to the House ACA (passed May 4, 2017). Senate voting is targeted for the week of June 26th.

Republican Senators Face Pushback From Governors on the Health Bill

from The Wall Street Journal,

Some states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA are urging lawmakers to rethink funding cuts.

Republican senators back home on recess this week are hearing from some influential critics of their health-law effort: GOP governors, many of whom are urging them to push back on the legislation because it would cut Medicaid funding. Governors of states including Ohio, Nevada and Arkansas, which stand to lose billions of dollars in Medicaid funding under the Senate bill, want senators to keep as much of that money as possible. That pressure reflects a risk taken by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), perhaps unavoidably, in deciding to delay a vote on the GOP health-care bill until after lawmakers return to Washington the week of July 10. Most vocal are governors of states that expanded their Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. The bill would phase out that expansion and transform the state-federal safety-net program into one in which the federal government’s share would be capped. In all, the bill would cut $772 billion in funding for the program over a decade.

“It’s a pretty big deal, because in most cases these states have had bitter battles inside the state legislature and [with the] governor about [Medicaid], and it’s been settled in favor of expansion,” said Stewart Verdery, a former GOP Senate aide and founder of Monument Policy Group, a lobbying and public-affairs firm. For any Republican senator “to blow that up from afar is really dicey,” Mr. Verdery said. Newsletter Sign-up In Nevada, Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who faces a tough re-election fight next year, appeared with GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval at a news conference recently and said he opposes the health bill. Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio has said the bill’s opioid-addiction measures don’t go far enough, and he said he has conveyed his worries to the state’s GOP senator, Rob Portman. Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he has spoken to his state’s GOP senators, Tom Cotton and John Boozman, almost daily about his concerns with the bill. All Democrats are expected to oppose the measure, which means Mr. McConnell can afford to lose no more than two GOP votes to pass the health bill, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie if necessary. That means Republican leaders must flip at least seven of the nine GOP senators who have already said publicly they oppose the bill, a challenge compounded by the recess. “The further you get away from this place, the more pushback you’ll get,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who has said he prefers the Senate bill to the ACA, said in the Capitol last week. In a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 16% of respondents said the version of the bill passed by the House, which also included deep cuts to Medicaid, was a good idea.

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