Nevada’s Sandoval, Heller join opposition to healthcare bill

Gov. Brian Sandoval has joined with three other governors in protesting the current form of the House healthcare bill.

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, they said they were encouraged the president said the nation’s governors should get the resources and flexibility they need in the transition from Obamacare and the Trump Administration’s commitment to a partnership between the federal and state governments to “design programs that meet the spectrum of diverse needs of their Medicaid population.”

“Unfortunately, the current version of the House bill does not meet this test,” the letter states. “It provides almost no new flexibility for states, does not ensure the resources necessary to make sure no one is left out and shifts significant new costs to states.”

In addition to Sandoval, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Rick Snyder of Michigan and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas signed the letter.

They said they support fundamental reform of Medicaid and have worked on a proposal that addresses that and issues of equity between states that expanded Medicaid and those that didn’t. But they said a key throughout the process is giving the states a say in what happens and flexibility to respond to their needs.

“In addition, we believe Congress should focus first on stabilizing the private insurance market where the greatest disruption from Obamacare has occurred,” they said.

Among the options they asked for consideration are converting financing to a per-enrollee cap or block grant funding while providing states “necessary control of the program” to ensure predictability and sustainability overtime.

They also argued the federal government should continue to honor its commitment to American Indians and Alaska Natives. They said the expanding cost of medical care for undocumented immigrants shouldn’t be shifted to the states — nor should the cost of care for refugees.

The governors called for power to freeze or reduce enrollments, impose conditions of eligibility such as work requirements and the ability to make ineligible individuals with access to employer insurance plans as well as set asset tests for applicant. In addition, the letter and supporting documents call for more state control over benefit packages and provider rates.

They also called for more state engagement throughout the reform process, including a distinct process for states to have input on federal regulations before they’re finalized.

Nevada U.S. Sen. Dean Heller joined Sandoval Friday in opposition to a GOP bill that would kill much of former President Barack Obama’s health care law.

“I agree with Gov. Sandoval,” Heller said in a statement provided by spokesman Mac Abrams. “I do not support the House bill in its current form.”


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