Gov. Sandoval joins critics of House GOP health care bill

Updated June 16, 2017 - 6:08 pm

DES MOINES, Iowa — Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada joined a group of Republican and Democratic governors Friday in echoing President Donald Trump’s criticism of the House GOP health care bill.

The governors say it threatens coverage for the most vulnerable. Instead, they’re asking Senate leaders to work together on an overhaul of Democrat Barack Obama’s health care law.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, seven governors, including Sandoval and two other Republicans, argue that “true and lasting reforms are best approached by finding common ground in a bipartisan fashion.” The governors implore the leaders to focus on stabilizing the individual insurance markets, giving states flexibility and ensuring affordable coverage.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter Friday.

The governors said they oppose the bill the House narrowly passed last month, citing its deep cuts to Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income Americans.

McConnell, R-Ky., has been under criticism, including from some fellow Republican senators, for writing the Senate version behind closed doors. He’s hoping to get the measure through the Senate before Congress’ Fourth of July recess.

“The House bill is just unacceptable to me,” Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich said in an interview. “The problem is it’s going to take away insurance coverage from people, and that takes us backward. My sense is you’ve got to start to develop a little bipartisan support, and working with Democratic and Republican governors is a good start.”

Republicans Sandoval, Kasich and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts signed the letter. Democrats Steve Bullock of Montana, John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania added their names.

The seven all opted to accept terms of the 2010 law that allowed them to receive additional federal money to expand the number of people covered by Medicaid. The House bill would phase out the money for increased Medicaid coverage by 2020.

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