Las Vegas, NV – In response to a new report that Republican Senator Dean Heller supports phasing out Medicaid expansion funding, Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Stewart Boss released the following statement:
“Surprise, surprise — Dean Heller is getting to a yes on the dangerous GOP plan to strip health care coverage from working families. Senator Heller’s support for rolling back Medicaid expansion funding puts him at odds with Governor Sandoval and would take coverage away from hundreds of thousands of Nevadans, all so the wealthy can get a huge tax cut. Dean Heller is doubling down on the Republican health care agenda at Nevada’s expense, and that’s why voters will repeal and replace him at the ballot box in 2018.”
Reminder: Just last month, Heller’s office said Trump’s proposed cuts to Medicaid were “anti-Nevada.” What changed?
In case you missed it, Heller has voted repeatedly in Washington for massive cuts to Medicaid.
BY PETER SULLIVAN – 06/08/17 01:05 PM EDT 43
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), a key GOP senator on healthcare who is up for reelection next year, said Thursday that he supports a seven-year phase-out of funding for ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid.
“I support seven, I support seven,” Heller told reporters on his way into a healthcare working group meeting in the Capitol. “So do a number of us, including [Sen. Rob] Portman [R-Ohio] and others who have been working on this.”
Heller’s comments indicate that he is willing to end the extra federal funding for Medicaid expansion, as long as it is on a slow enough timetable. His comments, and those of other more centrist GOP senators, could indicate that Republicans can find some compromise on the Medicaid issue, one of their biggest obstacles to passing an ObamaCare repeal bill.
The proposal from Portman and others is to gradually phase down the federal funding for Medicaid expansion over a seven-year period from 2020 to 2027.
That is longer than the three-year phase-down proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday. But it is possible a compromise could be worked out.
Heller did not say whether he could support a bill with a faster phase-down.
As one of the most electorally vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection next year, Heller is closely watched in the healthcare debate.
Democrats warn that any phase-down of funding, no matter how slow, would eventually result in millions of people currently on the Medicaid expansion losing coverage.
With reduced federal funding, states would still have the ability to keep the Medicaid expansion, but they would have to pour in more of their own money, which could be a tough stretch for many state budgets.