“Wow. Trying to follow Dean Heller’s position on health care is like staring into carnival hall of mirrors,” said American Bridge spokesperson Joshua Karp. “Unfortunately for Dean Heller, he looks like the clown.”
By Riley Snyder and Megan Messerly | July 27th, 2017
Nevada Sen. Dean Heller — considered one of a handful of Republican swing votes that will make or break efforts to pass a measure substantially overhauling the Affordable Care Act — has signed on to an alternative plan designed to shift federal funding and more decision-making authority to individual states.
The amendment, originally proposed by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, would keep most of the taxes from the ACA in place but send the money raised from those taxes to the states in the form of block grants. States would be allowed to use the money to create state-specific programs to provide health insurance.
Cassidy’s office said that the amendment would allow federal Medicaid funding to states to “continue to grow in a sustainable manner, adjusted for inflation,” providing flexibility to states to ensure that dollars are spent where they are most needed in a state-by-state basis.
“It would leave in place taxes on the wealthy, taking that money and giving it back to governors to come up with better healthcare,” Graham said on CNN two weeks ago. “If you like ObamaCare, you can keep it. If you want to replace it, you can.”
Cassidy tweeted Thursday morning that Heller had joined as a co-sponsor to the newly dubbed “Graham-Cassidy-Heller” amendment.
The measure would repeal the individual mandate and employer mandates created by the ACA along with the medical device tax, while maintaining requirements that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions. The Congressional Budget Office has not yet scored the plan, which means it would likely need 60 votes to pass.
Heller cited the amendment as one of a number of “commonsense solutions that could improve our health care system” in a statement explaining his decision to support a procedural motion to proceed on debate of the health care bill.
A Heller-only sponsored amendment that would have expressed the Senate’s symbolic support for continuing the government-funded Medicaid program as provided for under the Affordable Care Act in the event of a repeal died a quick and overwhelming death yesterday in a 10-90 vote.
Published: Jul 27, 2017