Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Four Republican senators tell McConnell to save Medicaid expansion (joan Mccarter) · Tuesday, March 07, 2017, 11:34 am

As House Speaker Paul Ryan continues to scramble to get an Obamacare repeal bill (with a few sops thrown into say they're "replacing" it) that he can actually get through with House Republican support, his beg plans just hit yet another roadblock. This time it's in the Senate and comes in the form of four Republicans who want Medicaid expansion preserved.

Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (R. W.Va.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said they would vote against any reform bill that fails to protect Americans who became eligible for coverage under the ACA's expansion of Medicaid, the government-run health program for the poor and disabled.
All four senators represent states that opted to expand their Medicaid program under the ACA.

"We will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states," they wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

"Reform should not come at the cost of disruption in access to health care for our country's most vulnerable and sickest individuals. Any changes made to how Medicaid is financed through the state and federal governments should be coupled with significant new flexibility so they can efficiently and effectively manage their Medicaid programs to best meet their own needs."

In case you're wondering, no, the House bill doesn't do that. McConnell is going to need two of these four senators to have enough votes to pass Ryan's bill. He's got eight senators total who have raised objections now: these four on Medicaid, from the extreme end of the caucus Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee who don't want tax subsidies for people, and Susan Collins who is opposed to Planned Parenthood defunding, as is Murkowski. He can only afford to lose six of those eight.

Ryan's job just got a lot tougher.


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