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Dean Heller Caves to Pressure from Billionaire Donors on Health Care

A new story today from Vox highlights one of the key factors behind why the Republican health care plan is back from the dead and gaining steam: GOP senators – including Nevada’s Dean Heller – are desperate to please their ultra-wealthy donors. Two “unhappy” Republican billionaires in Nevada, Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, helped drive Heller’s conspicuous switch from publicly denouncing the GOP’s toxic health care plan this summer to now slapping his name on the latest version.

Vox: The GOP can’t quit Obamacare repeal because of their donors


But one more crucial motivator explains a whole lot: Republican Party donors want it.

The evidence that the GOP is trying to please donors here is adding up. An anonymous Republican senator told Politico that McConnell might be returning to health care to show donors “that the Senate GOP tried again.” Senate Republicans were warned at a private meeting that fundraising was slow because donors were disappointed at their lack of accomplishments, per the New York Times. And in recent months, senators “faced an unrelenting barrage of confrontations with some of their closest supporters, donors and friends” over Obamacare repeal’s failure, according to the Washington Post.

This pressure seems to be able to move votes. One moderate senator, Dean Heller (R-NV), conspicuously switched from being a public critic of repeal efforts to a strong supporter of Graham-Cassidy. That came after he reportedly got an earful from Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, two billionaire GOP donors in his state.