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Senator Heller’s Sham Amendment “Goes Down in Flames” in Failed Effort to Cover Up Endorsement of Skinny Repeal Plan

Today – not that long after he endorsed a repeal plan that would cause millions to lose their health care access and premiums to increase while sending insurance markets into a death spiral – Republican Senator Dean Heller called for the “showiest of show votes” to express symbolic support for Medicaid.

The amendment just went “down in flames” on the Senate floor, with 90 votes in bipartisan opposition.

Under the so-called “skinny repeal” plan that Senator Heller embraced and Governor Sandoval just strongly opposed, Nevadans would see an average annual premium increase of $995 in 2018. For a 60-year-old in Nevada, that benchmark premium increase next year would be $1,695. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would result in 16 million Americans losing their health insurance.

“True to form, Senator Heller is trying to save his political career with a ridiculous and pathetic political stunt,” said Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II. “Senator Heller’s fate was sealed when he cast the deciding vote to dismantle the Affordable Care Act yesterday, and he only added fuel to the fire today by endorsing a plan to increase your premiums by 20 percent and cause 16 million Americans to lose health insurance access. No amount of disingenuous political posturing is going to fix what Dean Heller has done.”

Online reaction:

@CharlesPPierce: This symbolic amendment on the importance of Medicaid is completely insulting, and it won’t get Dean Heller re-elected.

@Alexruoff: Senate going to vote on a ‘sense of the Senate’ that Medicaid is important, sponsored by Dean Heller. The showiest of show votes.

@Taniel: This is PEAK Heller. A *non-binding* statement of abstract support for Medicaid.

@igorbobic: Heller’s show vote on Medicaid goes down in flames

@TheNVIndy: Now leading the site: @SenDeanHeller’s nonbinding measure of support for Medicaid crushed on procedural vote.

@RalstonReports: “And I apologize for voting to end it less than two years ago.”

@RalstonReports: When it was risk-free — i.e. Obama veto coming — Heller was fine with straight repeal, one that phased out Medicaid expansion in 2 years.