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While GOP Govs Huddle in D.C., Dems Stand Unanimously Opposed to Congressional GOP’s Health Care Repeal Plan

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While GOP Govs Huddle in D.C., Dems Stand Unanimously Opposed to Congressional GOP’s Health Care Repeal Plan

On Thurs: GOP governors, senators to hold secretive Republican-only meeting in Senate

Earlier this month, all Dem govs wrote Congress in opposition to plan of repeal with no replacement

Today, Republican governors will join Senate Finance Committee Republicans for a closed-door, Capitol Hill meeting to address the impact of Congressional Republicans’ plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and radically cut Medicaid. 

While Democrats were not invited to the partisan meeting, Democratic governors have unanimously opposed the Congressional Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no replacement. In December, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote the nation’s sitting Democratic and Republican governors for their input on the plan by early January. As of this week, all of those Democratic governors have responded to McCarthy, unanimously expressing deep concerns about the impact on their constituents. Excerpts of those letters are below.

Today’s Republican-only meeting between governors and senators is focused on the future of Medicaid. Some 31 states led by Democratic and Republican governors alike have expanded Medicaid since 2010. At least 10 Republican governors have expressed concern over the impact of current Congressional GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and undo Medicaid expansion – which would strip coverage away from 32 million Americans – without a replacement. 

“Democratic governors are focused on making sure our 125 million constituents have access to quality health care at an affordable cost,” said Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, Chair of the Democratic Governors Association. “President-elect Trump has promised that he would increase health coverage, lower costs and expand options. This Congressional Republican plan fails on all three counts. It would kick 32 million Americans off their health care, with no plan to replace the coverage. And it would slash Medicaid critical to working families and to fighting the opioid epidemic.”


“Democratic governors weren’t invited to this behind-closed-doors meeting, but today we are sending a clear message: We are unanimously opposed to a Congressional plan that would kick millions of Americans off of Medicaid and other health plans,” Malloy added.“Democratic governors agree with many of our Republican colleagues: the current Congressional plan is a disaster for our states and our residents. We urge Senate Finance Committee Republicans to consider the damaging impact of this plan on Americans in both red and blue states.”

“The Republican proposal in Congress would result in 32 million Americans and 750,000 Washingtonians losing their health coverage, with no plan to replace it,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, DGA Chair-elect. “The records of the President-elect’s nominees and Congressional leaders foreshadow an effort to further cut funding for the Medicaid and Medicare programs that millions of American seniors, children, disabled and other vulnerable families count on for care each year. Congress is rushing to push radical policy changes that will affect every state, and with little input from governors or the public. This debate cannot be based on ideology, but on a shared commitment to providing better, more affordable health care for as many Americans as possible.”

The nation’s Democratic governors have been active critics of Republicans’ plans for Medicaid and are united in their opposition to Congress’s plan. Democratic governors from across the country led letters outlining their opposition to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and the Democratic Governors Association sent a letter to Congress in December posing 6 questions about how ACA repeal would impact the states. 

Excerpts from Governors’ letters are below:

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock: “Congress should not rip healthcare away from tens of thousands of Montanans and millions of Americans without first presenting a real and viable alternative that protects patients and that provides a foundation for states, healthcare providers, and insurers to responsibly plan for the future.”

California Gov. Jerry Brown: “Repealing the Affordable Care Act with no real replacement won’t just leave millions of people without care; it will destabilize the commercial market for small business owners and individuals.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown: “It is critical that we move forward and not backward when it comes to ensuring Americans have access to health care coverage. Slashing Medicaid funding, eliminating financial help for private plans, and imposing meager caps on benefits are not solutions for the remaining imperfections in America’s health care system.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “Congress must do no harm to the family of America by throwing the future of health care into a hurricane of uncertainty by repealing the law now with an empty promise to find bipartisan support later.”

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton: “Cuts to Medicaid or MinnesotaCare under the guise of state flexibility would be devastating and simply shift costs to state and local governments.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards: “As you know, Medicaid is the largest provider of long-term care in the nation. As the population ages, it is difficult for me to see how a block grant will help, rather than hurt, our efforts to provide care for those who cared for us – our parents and grandparents. I strongly believe that rationing health care is not the right approach for Louisiana and our nation.”

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan: “Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a truly effective replacement in place would throw tens of thousands of New Hampshire families into uncertainty. It would also severely disrupt our health insurance marketplace – potentially leading to fewer choices and increased rates. It would also destabilize our health care providers, and the threatened loss of insurance coverage could potentially halt the development of new substance abuse treatment alternatives.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper: “We are concerned that block grant and per capita cap proposals will make it difficult to maintain coverage and benefits for Coloradans over the long term. Many proposals would force us to make impossible choices in our Medicaid program. These proposals would shift the cost of providing health care to Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens on our limited state budget or force us to make difficult cuts. We should not be forced to choose between providing hardworking older Coloradans with blood pressure medication or children with their insulin.”

Hawaii Gov. David Ige: “Medicaid expansion under the ACA has been one of the biggest milestones in health care reform. […] Because of the changes to eligibility, some of our most vulnerable, like homeless individuals and families, would no longer be able to receive necessary mental health and substance use treatment services that would enable them to become housed, employed, and off the streets.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: “As the 115th Congress convenes, we also urge you not to undermine the Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance and Medicare programs. […] Our residents cannot afford any dismantling of these essential federal programs – whether through block grants, per-capita caps, privatization or other means.”

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell: “The risks include withdrawing critical medical care for tens of thousands of citizens and a collapse of the State’s Marketplace following the exit of participating insurers. Any changes to the ACA must take into account the difference that increased access to affordable, quality health care has made to the lives of tens of thousands of Delawareans.”

Connecticut Gov Dan Malloy: “Repealing the ACA without a well thought out and transparent replacement will assuredly create disastrous uncertainty for families and businesses who have come to rely on access to affordable health care. […]Ripping all of that away simply to make a political point is extremely dangerous and tantamount to a betrayal of our fellow Americans.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe: “The ACA has also had a positive impact on Virginia’s budget. If the ACA is repealed without a replacement source of federal funding, Virginia’s Medicaid program would lose $193 million in state fiscal year 2019 alone. The consequences of unmet health care needs and unpaid hospital bill are devastating for families in Virginia.”

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo: “Avoid transferring costs to states. Any such shifts would be unaffordable and unworkable for the states. Likewise, we must avoid increasing the burden of uncompensated care for our hospitals.”

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin: “Thanks to Obamacare, 25,000 Vermonters who didn’t have health insurance now do, over 20,000 Vermonters are receiving financial help to make insurance more affordable, and our state’s uninsured rate has been driven down to 2.7 percent. If you can come up with a plan that ensures all those things remain true, let’s talk. Until then, I beg you to keep your hands off our Obamacare.”

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin: “West Virginia has made tremendous great strides toward insuring low income, working adults since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. […] Decreasing federal funding, whether by means of grant funding, Medicaid matching funds, Advanced Premium Tax Credits, or failing to fulfill risk adjustment obligations, would immediately reverse all progress made for both our working population and those vulnerable citizens who we are morally obligated to serve.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf: “In the midst of an exploding heroin use and opioid abuse epidemic that is gripping Pennsylvania and the nation, the role that Medicaid pays in addressing this epidemic cannot be understated.”