Hogan opposes latest version of Obamacare repeal bill

Gov. Larry Hogan urged Congress Tuesday to reject the latest version of a Senate Republican plan to repeal Obamacare, saying it would cost Maryland $2 billion a year.

Hogan, a Republican, has so far opposed all of the measures supported by President Donald J. Trump to scrap the Affordable Care Act. The new version, known as Graham-Cassidy, faces a potentially close vote in the Senate before the end of September.

The governor released a statement emphasizing that the current law needs to be fixed, but he rejected the repeal measure sponsored by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

“Unfortunately, the Graham-Cassidy bill is not a solution that works for Maryland. It will cost our state over $2 billion annually while directly jeopardizing the health care of our citizens,” Hogan said. “We need common sense, bipartisan solutions that will stabilize markets and actually expand affordable coverage.”

Hogan called on congressional Republicans and Democrats to negotiate a deal to shore up the Affordable Care Act.

Hogan is not the only GOP governor to come out against Graham-Cassidy, which critics have called little different from a previous Republican bill that failed by one vote in the Senate in July. Four Republican governors joined with five Democrats and one independent in writing a letter to Congress opposing the legislation. They are Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, John Kasich of Ohio, Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Phil Scott of Vermont. Hogan issued his statement separately from the others.

Graham-Cassidy would replace the Obamacare Medicaid expansion that was embraced by Maryland, Massachusetts and other states with block grants that are expected to provide fewer dollars per patient. It would also eliminate the mandates for individuals to purchase health care insurance and for large employers to offer health care plans.

The measure has yet to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office for its likely effects on the number of Americans insured. Previous versions of an Obamacare repeal failed after the CBO estimated millions would lose coverage. Some proponents are pushing for a vote on Graham-Cassidy even without a score.

If Graham-Cassidy passes in the Senate, it would still have to go back to the House for a vote before it could go to Trump's desk.

mdresser@baltsun.com

twitter.com/michaeltdresser

Copyright © 2017, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
36°