Governors met on Obamacare replacement
plan with Pence
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[March 03, 2017]
By Yasmeen Abutaleb and Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ten state governors
seeking to avoid millions of dollars in federal healthcare cuts under
Republican plans to replace Obamacare pressed their case in a meeting
with Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday, according to two people
briefed on the talks.
The governors are worried that repealing former President Barack Obama's
2010 healthcare law without a detailed replacement will take coverage
away from millions of Americans and land the states with a large
Pressure from governors is just one of the challenges facing President
Donald Trump's administration as it tries to
scrap Obama's Affordable Care Act, one of the Republican's signature
election campaign promises.
During the hour-long meeting, the governors presented Pence and Health
and Human Services Secretary Tom Price with a proposal to reform the
Medicaid program for the poor, the sources said.
Under Obamacare, more than 30 states - including about a dozen with
Republican governors - expanded Medicaid by allowing those who earned
incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level to enroll.
The governors' plan would allow those states to maintain the Medicaid
expansion and enable other states to also expand, according to a copy of
the proposal seen by Reuters. States could choose to expand Medicaid to
any income level at or below 138 percent and retain enhanced federal
funding for the program.
The proposal would also give states more flexibility in how they manage
their Medicaid programs and cap spending for certain populations.
House Republicans have yet to agree on a single detailed policy proposal
and many say it will not be in place before 2019.
On Thursday, a draft Obamacare repeal bill by the House Republicans was
available for Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee to read in a room on Capitol Hill but was not publicly
released. It was not clear whether the governors' demands were addressed
in the latest version of the draft bill.
[to top of second column]
The federal government forms for applying for health coverage are
seen at a rally held by supporters of the Affordable Care Act,
widely referred to as "Obamacare", outside the Jackson-Hinds
Comprehensive Health Center in Jackson, Mississippi, U.S. on October
4, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman/File Photo
"The President and Vice President have been very clear that
governors and states will play a critical role in the repeal and
replacement of Obamacare," said Marc Lotter, a Pence spokesman.
Ohio Governor John Kasich also met with Trump on Friday and briefed
him on the governors' plan.
In his address to Congress on Tuesday, Trump said that state
governors should be given "the resources and flexibility they need
with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out."
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and House Ways and Means Committee
Chairman Kevin Brady met on Thursday with Republican members of the
Senate Finance Committee and discussed the Medicaid expansion.
"We're still a long ways off," Walker said. "The same things they
(lawmakers) hear from their members are the same things we hear in
the states, is how do you balance states that didn't take the
expansion and states that did. How do we make sure we find a good
way?" he said.
(Reporting By Yasmeen Abutaleb and Susan Cornwell; Additional
reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Caroline Humer and Alistair
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