The next version of “healthcare reform” has been released by Senate Republicans. Again, there are major concerns in this bill. Some of those concerns are newly created by amendments such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s change. Those impacts will be better understood once we get a CBO score. Other concerns have long persisted such as the drastic changes in the structure of Medicaid.
The changes in this bill are meant to pull in more support from the right wing members of the Senate. It is a similar tactic the House used to get their version narrowly passed. Remember Rep. Meadows from the Freedom Caucus? The question now is whether that shift rightward jeopardizes support from more moderate Republicans.
We don’t know for sure where Senator John Hoeven will land with these revisions. A week ago, Hoeven came out saying he couldn’t support the healthcare bill “in its current form.” In a statement following his meetings with AARP, hospitals, and the Long-Term Care Association, Senator Hoeven said:
I do not support the Senate health care bill in its current form and am especially concerned by the CBO’s analysis of the bill’s impact on Medicaid. – Senator John Hoeven (July 07, 2017)
This revision of “healthcare reform” leaves in place the damaging changes to Medicaid. That should be a non-starter for Senator Hoeven according to his previous statement. If he were to reverse course and support this bill now, he would have a lot of explaining and backtracking to do.
I’ve said before on more than one occasion that North Dakota can not handle these Medicaid changes due to our budget. The shift on cost sharing would likely result in fewer services for our most frail populations. Republican Senators should heed the call from the public who wants the Senate to start over on healthcare reform in a bipartisan fashion.