Republican Senators Face Pushback From Governors on the Health Bill – Michelle Hackman July 2, 2017


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

Gov. John Kasich (R., Ohio), right, and Gov. John Hickenlooper (D., Colo.) hold a news conference on the Senate health bill late last month.

Gov. John Kasich (R., Ohio), right, and Gov. John Hickenlooper (D., Colo.) hold a news conference on the Senate health bill late last month. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

WASHINGTON—Republican senators, back in their home states this week, have one constituent whose influential views on health care they will likely hear whether or not they hold town-hall meetings: their governor.

These governors, some of whose states stand to lose billions of dollars in Medicaid funding under the Senate health bill, are likely to press senators to keep as much funding 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 this week’s July 4 recess.

In states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, many Republican governors are urging senators to resist the Senate bill, which would cut $772 billion in federal Medicaid funding over the next 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 a Republican senator “to blow that up from afar is really dicey,” Mr. Verdery said.

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