Vice President Pence, HHS Secretary Tom Price and CMS Administrator Seema Verma set out to win over the support from Republican Governors for the Republican Senate’s health care repeal bill during the National Governors Association summer meeting. They gave their best attempts to cudgel, persuade and even outright lie about the repeal bill to win support.
But, there is still not a single Republican governor who supports their devastating repeal plan that makes health care so much worse for so many people.
In fact, Republican governors continued to express their serious concerns for gutting Medicaid and what that would mean for their constituents. The NGA’s analysis showed that this health care repeal could mean up to 39% reduction in Medicaid in their state.
Gov. Bill Walker (I-AK): “I Would Like to See it Split Apart.” “Yes, part of the insurance will benefit Alaska, but it’s really the Medicaid part that concerns me, the long-term, as you appropriately stated. One in four Alaskans are receiving some method of Medicaid benefits. So it’s really the whole package I’m concerned about and it’s coming awfully quick at us and so if it is not a way to pause it, I guess I would like to see it split apart in some way so that the Medicaid is taken out of the insurance side of it. So there’s really two bundled together and I think that’s a concern for me.” [MSNBC, 7/14/2017]
Gov. Bill Walker (I-AK): “I Don’t Want to See Alaskans Lose Coverage.” “My whole thing is whatever is done it doesn’t hurt Alaskans. […] Well, I don’t want to see Alaskans lose coverage. when I expanded Medicaid about 40,000 Alaskans received benefits. So I want to make sure we don’t lose that. [MSNBC, 7/14/2017]
Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ): “It Needs Work.” “Ducey met with Pence and his colleagues but said he still has reservations about the Senate bill. ‘It needs work,’ he said. ‘We’re communicating with Senator McCain. We’ve given him specific language that we think will dramatically improve the bill, and the ball’s in the Senate’s court.’” [Washington Post, 7/14/17]
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR): “Those Are Still Significant Hurdles That Would Shift A Huge Burden To The States… You Cannot Manage The Medicaid Population And Create That Level Of Savings.” “Arkansas Gov. likes some changes to Senate bill … but says the provisions on winding down Medicaid expansion and the growth rate on overall Medicaid spending caps are still ‘big problems.’ ‘Those are still significant hurdles that would shift a huge burden to the states,’ Gov. Asa Hutchinson told Rachana. ‘You cannot manage the Medicaid population and create that level of savings.’” [Politico, 7/14/17]
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AK): “Deep Concern” Regarding “The Cost Shift We See To The States Under The Reduced Growth Rate For Medicaid Spending.” “Hutchinson welcomed some of the changes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made to the bill after weeks of consultations with elected officials. He described ‘some very significant improvements to the bill,’ including additional funds to help middle- and lower-income Americans buy private insurance. But in an interview after Pence’s speech — and before a scheduled meeting with the vice president — he said the Senate bill remained a ‘deep concern’ to him ‘in terms of the cost shift we see to the states under the reduced growth rate for Medicaid spending.’ Hutchinson said he has spoken to Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) ‘continually’ about the bill, which he said is ‘moving in the right direction.’ But he said he was not ready to support it yet. [Washington Post, 7/14/17]
Gov. Charlie Baker (R-MA): “I’m Not Going To Support Anything That Translates Into A Taking, Literally, Just A Takeback From The Federal Government.” “‘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. ‘For a state like me and Massachusetts that means I want to protect the waiver and I want to protect our current relationship financially and programmatically with the feds…’ Baker said he didn’t know enough about the bill yet to say whether it met his litmus tests, but when asked whether he could ever support a bill that capped Medicaid reimbursements he said, ‘I hate to say no to things because you just never know. I said at the beginning of the conversation that I was willing to discuss a per-capita cap if they were willing to go down that road in a way that adequately and properly funded the program. The House version certainly didn’t do that, and neither did the original Senate version and I’m not going to support anything that translates into a taking, literally just a takeback from the federal government with respect to the commitment they’ve already made to support health care in Massachusetts,” Baker said. [State House News Service, 7/14/17]
Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV): “I’m No Different Than I Was.” “So far, he isn’t buying what the administration is selling. ‘I’m no different than I was,’ Sandoval told reporters after a governors-only meeting Saturday morning with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Seema Verma, administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.” [Washington Post, 7/15/17]
Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV): “I’m Struggling to Validate the Numbers…” “We as governors are the closest representatives to the people,” said Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican who has been the target of a full-court press from the White House to support the Senate bill, in hopes that it will bring along uncommitted Republican Sen. Dean Heller. “I am struggling to validate the numbers that are being presented to me by the administration versus what I’m hearing from independent [experts], what I’ll likely hear from the CBO, what I’m hearing from back home,” said Sandoval, who chuckled when asked whether any minds had changed, saying “likely not.” [Politico, 7/15/17]
Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV): On Medicaid Cuts: “Anybody Can Do The Rudimentary Math On That.” “Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval continued to express skepticism about a new Senate health care bill on Friday, saying ‘the rudimentary math’ indicates it wouldn’t mitigate heavy cuts to Medicaid. The Republican governor offered more insight into this thinking on the Senate health bill on Friday, ahead of a series of calls and meetings he’ll have on the topic with his staff, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Dean Heller, who has taken his cues from Sandoval on health legislation. Sandoval compared the bill’s proposed addition of $70 billion to stabilize health insurance exchanges against an estimated $700 billion in proposed Medicaid cuts. ‘Anybody can do the rudimentary math on that,’ he told reporters at the National Governors Association summer meeting in Providence, RI. [Nevada Independent, 7/14/17]
Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV): “I’m Greatly Concerned And Very Protective Of The Expansive Population.” “Gov. Brian Sandoval expressed ‘great concern’ Thursday with the new Senate Republican health care bill and said he plans to meet one-on-one with top administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, to discuss it Friday. ‘I’m greatly concerned and very protective of the expansion population. They are living healthier and happier lives as a result of their receiving coverage, and for them to lose that at this point would be very hurtful for them. And it’s about people — this is about people. And 210,000 people in my state,’ the Nevada Republican told CNN at the National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island. He said he has not yet reviewed the bill, but ‘generally, my understanding is the bill isn’t that much different than its previous iteration.’” [CNN, 7/13/17]
Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH): “Those Of Us Who Are Implementing These Programs Are The Only Ones That Really Understand The Impact.” “At least one Republican governor at the meeting, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, shared Cooper’s concerns about proposed cuts. ‘We’re reviewing the version that was released today. The first version made very severe cuts to Medicaid and some other programs that would have had a very significant impact to our state. It’s one of the main reasons I came out against it,’ Sununu said in a brief interview. ‘They have to solicit the input from those of us governors, mayors, county commissioners, all the way down. Those of us who are implementing these programs are the ones that really understand the impact.’” [Reuters, 7/13/17]
Gov. John Kasich (R-OH): “The Senate Plan Is Still Unacceptable.” “The Senate plan is still unacceptable. Its cuts to Medicaid are too deep and at the same time it fails to give states the ability to innovate in order to cope with these reductions. It also doesn’t do enough to stabilize the insurance market, where costs are rising unsustainably and companies are simply dropping coverage.” [Tweet, 7/14/17]
Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI): “None Of These Plans Right Now Do Us Justice.” “Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin suggested that Congress consider a better-funded version of the measure proposed this year by two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, that would offer states more flexibility over how to run their health care programs. Pursuing that approach, Mr. Walker said, would obviate differences between the states that did and did not expand Medicaid while averting the intractable split between conservative and centrist members of Congress over how to structure a replacement. ‘None of these plans right now do us justice,’ he said.” [New York Times, 7/14/17]
Gov. Phil Scott (R-VT): “We’ve Made Great Strides At Protecting The Most Vulnerable And I Believe, In Its Present Form, This Would Not Be Good For Vermont.” “Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, who won election in November even as Hillary Clinton carried his state by more than 20 percentage points, said the bill could cripple the health care system in Vermont. ‘We’ve expanded Medicaid, and even a small tweak could have a devastating impact on us as a state,’ Mr. Scott said. ‘We’ve made great strides at protecting the most vulnerable and I believe, in its present form, this would not be good for Vermont.’” [New York Times, 7/14/17]