Baker And 9 Other Governors Urge Senate To Reject 'Skinny Repeal' Of Obamacare

Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker at the National Governor's Association meeting earlier in July in Providence, R.I. (Stephan Savoia/AP)
Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker at the National Governor's Association meeting earlier in July in Providence, R.I. (Stephan Savoia/AP)

Gov. Charlie Baker has again added his name to a letter from a bipartisan group of governors urging the U.S. Senate to reject a federal health proposal.

In the letter dated Wednesday, Baker and nine colleagues call on senators to spurn the latest Republican idea for a health care overhaul: a so-called "skinny repeal," which would repeal certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

"Skinny repeal," the governors write, "is expected to accelerate health plans leaving the individual market, increase premiums, and result in fewer Americans having access to coverage."

Senate Republicans haven't yet released exact legislation for their "skinny repeal" proposal. Senate Democrats asked the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office for an estimate based on several reported elements of the plan, and the CBO estimated the overhaul would result in 16 million more uninsured people by 2026.

One of those reported provisions: removing the mandate that individuals purchase insurance or face a penalty. Massachusetts has had an individual mandate since its 2006 health care overhaul.

In their letter, Baker and his colleagues "ask senators to work with governors on solutions to problems we can all agree on: fixing our unstable insurance markets."

The letter is addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Five of its signers are Republicans -- Baker, Larry Hogan of Maryland, John Kasich of Ohio, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Phil Scott of Vermont — and five are Democrats -- John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, Steve Bullock of Montana, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania.

Republicans Kasich and Sandoval are notable because their respective states each have a moderate GOP senator — Ohio's Rob Portman and Nevada's Dean Heller — who is considered crucial to McConnell's Obamacare repeal efforts.

Last month, seven of these governors, including Baker, sent a similar letter to McConnell and Schumer, urging the Senate leaders to reject a House Republican health care bill.

Wednesday's letter was sent the same day as Massachusetts lawmakers rejected a Baker proposal to reform MassHealth, the state's Medicaid program.

Prior to the vote, Democrats in Massachusetts reportedly questioned the wisdom of making significant changes to MassHealth while a GOP-led Congress attempts to repeal Obamacare.

This article was originally published on July 27, 2017.


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Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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