Senator Mitch McConnell Presses Ahead With Health Care Vote - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Senator Mitch McConnell Presses Ahead With Health Care Vote

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to bring up a GOP health care bill on the Senate floor next week.

That's according to McConnell's spokesman, David Popp.

The legislation by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana would repeal central elements of former President Barack Obama's health care law. State would get block grants instead.

Republicans must vote on the bill by the end of next week or lose access to special budget rules that prevent Democrats from filibustering.

McConnell has been short of votes for the legislation and it remains unclear if he has the votes in hand to pass the measure.

Popp's statement said: "It is the leader's intention to consider Graham-Cassidy on the floor next week."

Earlier, President Donald Trump said that he had hoped Republican senators will vote for new legislation that aims to repeal and replace the health care law enacted by his predecessor.

On Twitter he said that the developing plan is "GREAT!" and "Ends Ocare!" a reference to the existing "Obamacare" health law.

Senate Republicans defeated an effort earlier this year to repeal Obama's law.

Trump also criticizes Kentucky Republican Sen. Ran Paul for opposing the bill. Trump says Paul is "such a negative force when it comes to fixing healthcare."

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of governors, including Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, sent a letter to Senate leaders expressing their opposition to the proposed Graham-Cassidy health care repeal plan.

The governors implored Senators not to consider the proposal, and instead wanting them to continue “bipartisan efforts to bring stability and affordability to our insurance markets.”

“Only open, bipartisan approaches can achieve true, lasting reforms,” the governors stated. “We look forward to continuing to work with you to improve the American health care system.” So far, the partisan Graham-Cassidy plan has been composed in secret and without any expert hearings or public input.

You can read the full letter below

Joining Sandoval in signing the letter were Governors John Hickenlooper (D) of Colorado, John Kasich (R) of Ohio, Bill Walker (I) of Alaska, Tom Wolf (D) of Pennsylvania, Steve Bullock (D) of Montana, Terry McAuliffe (D) of Virginia, John Bel Edwards (D) of Louisiana, Phil Scott (R) of Vermont, and Charlie Baker (R) of Massachusetts.

The plan would protect patients with pre-existing conditions, and people would not be fined if they don't buy health insurance.

"We have spent in the state of Nevada,” said Senator Dean Heller, sponsor of the bill. “Paid the federal government over $18 million by individuals. About 80,000 of them, because they can't afford the product that the government tells them they have to buy."

Republicans say California, Massachusetts and New York get 37% of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) funding, and that this plan would level it out to all the states by 2026.

"Under this proposal, our proposal, Nevada actually receives more funding than we currently do under Obamacare," said Senator Heller.

Each state would decide how to use the money, whether it's for their own version of the ACA, a single-payer system or different program.

"It returns power to the states, provides ultimate flexibility to governors and legislatures, regardless of whether they expanded Medicaid or not," said Senator Heller.

Last month, Governor Brian Sandoval announced that silver summit will cover the health exchange in Nevada's 14 so-called bare counties, keeping 8,000 people from losing coverage.

"Unfortunately, we found one carrier, which means there's no competition and there are no choices, and you know that that's only going to increase costs in those 14 of 17 counties," said Senator Heller.

The bill would require 50 votes, plus the vice president's tie-breaking vote to pass before the end-of-the-month deadline, when democrats can filibuster the legislation.

"This is the way forward. This is how we're going to move, not only health care forward but America forward, our economy forward by having a health care plan that works for everyone," said Senator Heller.

The 140-page legislation would replace much of President Obama's law with block grants to states, giving them wide leeway on spending the money, and would cut and reshape Medicaid. It would let states set their own coverage health requirements, allow insurers to boost premiums on people with serious medical conditions and end Obama's mandates that most Americans buy insurance and that companies offer coverage to workers.

Special procedures protecting the GOP bill from filibusters - which take 60 votes to block - expire Sept. 30, and after that Democratic opposition would guarantee its defeat. Some wavering Republican senators could want the nonpartisan budget office's analysis before feeling comfortable about the measure's impact back home.

Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) on Tuesday released the below statement: 

“The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal is the best solution to repeal and replace Obamacare. Our plan moves decision-making to the states and provides each state the flexibility needed to innovate, develop, and implement new options to bring down costs and increase coverage. Our plan also allows states to maintain programs that are currently working for them, protects individuals with pre-existing conditions, and eliminates the individual mandate penalty because people who can’t afford a product their government forces them to buy should not have to pay a fine.
 
“Most importantly, Nevada wins under Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson because it would be receiving more federal funding under this proposal and increased flexibility to help make sure people have access to quality care.”

Governor Brian Sandoval has issued the following statement on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller amendment. 

“I know that Senator Heller is working in the best interest of the state and I appreciate the intended flexibility created in the Graham-Cassidy-Heller amendment which would distribute healthcare funding via block grants. State experts will continue to work with our federal partners, specifically with Senator Heller’s office, on ideas to improve Nevada’s healthcare market. I continue to believe the framework authored by bipartisan Governors is the best path to improve our healthcare system but will continue to work with Senator Heller on healthcare solutions for the state of Nevada.”

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