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GOP senators now oppose health bill _ enough to sink it

26 June 2017

Now, facing an enormous challenge in the Senate on health care, Trump and his team are opting for a hands-off approach on legislation to dismantle the "Obamacare" law, instead putting their faith in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to deliver a legacy-defining victory.

John Kasich of Ohio, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Charlie Baker of MA and Larry Hogan of Maryland issued separate statements criticizing aspects of the legislation, including the secrecy under which it was written as well as the impact it would have on state budgets and low-income residents.

"You've got states across the country, including Pennsylvania, that have to balance their budget", he said.

Cheri Walters, executive director of The Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities believes the GOP plan to roll back Medicaid could severely impact the state's opiate addiction crisis.

U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged that a lack of support from four Senate Republicans leaves the party's healthcare overhaul on a "very, very narrow path" to win passage, but signaled a willingness to work with them to make changes.

Republicans say they are working to lower the cost of health insurance premiums, lower deductibles and still provide access to health care for the most vulnerable.

He said middle-class families with loved ones in nursing homes would see higher bills costing $2,000 or $3,000 more a month.

Johnson identified his opinion as "not a yes yet" on the Senate healthcare bill. "And we'll see if we can take care of that", Trump said in an interview with Fox News that aired on Friday, calling the group of conservative lawmakers "four very good people". It would erase taxes on higher earners and the medical industry that helped Obama's law expand coverage by roughly 20 million Americans. Sandoval reiterated his objections Friday during a joint news conference with Sen.

Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada, facing a competitive 2018 re-election battle, Rob Portman of OH and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia expressed concerns about the bill's cuts to Medicaid and drug addiction efforts.

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Hogan also focused on how GOP leaders on Capitol Hill had operated in drafting their measures.

"No amount of 11th hour reality-denying or buck-passing by Democrats is going to change the fact that more Americans are going to get hurt unless we do something", he said.

But at least one Republican governor of an expansion state signaled that he felt the bill was a step in the right direction.

Molina also said that the bill's proposal to tie cost-sharing subsidies to the lowest-level "bronze"-rated healthcare plans will make coverage less affordable, not more, by raising customers' out-of-pocket costs".

The expansion population in Arkansas topped 300,000 a year ago, according to Kaiser.

Other GOP governors of expansion states were silent or issued statements saying they needed time to study the legislation's specifics.

In an interview on NBC News' "Meet The Press", the Wisconsin Republican complained the GOP's repeal and replace Obamacare efforts in both the House and Senate so far have fallen far short. And the Democrats have said none of them will support this.

MARTIN: So what does the Senate bill do? OH is among the states hardest hit by the crisis. It covers whatever people are eligible - for basically whatever they need medically. It would be politically hard for Heller to take a different stance on the measure from the popular Sandoval.