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One Year Ago Today: Sandoval Opposes Heller’s Health Care Repeal Plan

Despite Sandoval’s vocal opposition—which was supposed to be a deal-breaker—Heller is still pushing his reckless ACA repeal bill

Heller: “Where is Gov. Sandoval? What does he think? How does he feel about the changes that are occurring?”

Sandoval ripped Heller’s plan, saying “flexibility with reduced funding is a false choice

One year ago today, Nevada’s Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval came out against Sen. Dean Heller’s Graham-Cassidy-HELLER plan, which would have gutted Nevada’s federal health care funding, caused hundreds of thousands of Nevadans to lose health care, and slashed coverage protections for pre-existing conditions. Fortunately for Nevadans, Heller’s plan was never taken up for a vote due to bipartisan opposition, but that hasn’t stopped Heller from working to this day to find 51 votes to pass this reckless bill.

Here’s a refresher on how Graham-Cassidy-Heller would harm Nevada:

  • 243,000: The number of Nevadans who would likely lose their health insurance in the next decade.
  • $2.7 billion: The amount of federal health care funding Nevada would lose through 2027.
  • 20%: Average increase in individual market premiums.
  • $11,018: The potential increase in premiums a 60-year old in Nevada making $25,000 in 2020 would face.

The Nevada Independent: Sandoval signs letter asking Senate leadership not to consider Heller-sponsored health-care proposal

Gov. Brian Sandoval has sharply split with fellow Republican Sen. Dean Heller Wednesday over a last-ditch proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, joining a bipartisan group of nine other governors in asking Senate leadership not to consider the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal.

The governors, who have written several letters to Congress throughout the health-care discussions this summer, asked Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer in a letter on Tuesday to support bipartisan efforts to stabilize the federal health care system. They suggested that Congress consider measures to control costs, stabilize the market and address patients struggling with mental illness, chronic health problems and drug addiction.

“As you continue to consider changes to the American health care system, we ask you not to consider the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment and renew support for bipartisan efforts to make health care more available and affordable for all Americans,” the governors wrote. “Only open, bipartisan approaches can achieve true, lasting reforms.”

The letter marks the first public break between Heller and Sandoval over efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act — the two Republicans appeared together in June to oppose an earlier version of the bill, and Heller has said that Sandoval’s opinion weighs heavily on his decision-making process.

“If you want my support … you gotta make sure the Republican governors that have expanded Medicaid sign off on it. I’ve been saying that for months,” Heller said at the time. “Where is Gov. Sandoval? What does he think? How does he feel about the changes that are occurring?”

MSNBC: Gov. Sandoval Slams Heller’s Health Care Bill

The Hill: Nevada GOP gov rips ObamaCare repeal bill: Flexibility it promises ‘a false choice’

Sandoval remains at odds with Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who is a co-sponsor of the latest ObamaCare repeal bill introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

Heller and Sandoval joined in initial opposition to Senate Republicans’s first effort to pass an ObamaCare repeal this summer, but Heller eventually voted for a scaled-down repeal bill.

The Graham-Cassidy bill, which would dismantle much of ObamaCare and convert its funding to block grants for states, is expected to be put on the Senate floor for a vote next week.

CNN: Nevada’s Heller dogged by summer of reversals on health care

Now, he is a co-author, along with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, of a bill that would drastically overhaul Medicaid, turning the program into a block grant in which states would get fixed amounts of federal funding each year.

But Sandoval isn’t with him, despite the White House’s efforts — including a one-on-one meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and top administration health officials at this summer’s National Governors Association meeting — to win him over.

In a bipartisan letter with other nine governors, and then in his own statement, Sandoval announced his opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill Tuesday — leaving Heller without his most important home-state political ally.

Heller’s opponents say his twists and turns on health care show he was acting out of fear — first of the general election, and now of a primary.