ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — While emphasizing the need to fix the Affordable Care Act, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday he opposed a revived Republican effort to repeal the health law, arguing that it would cost Maryland more than $2 billion a year “while directly jeopardizing the health care of our citizens.”
The proposal would replace much of former President Barack Obama’s law with block grants to states, giving them wide leeway on spending the money. It would also cut and reshape Medicaid. The bill is named after its two sponsors, Sens. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina and Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy.
“Unfortunately, the Graham-Cassidy bill is not a solution that works for Maryland,” Hogan, a Republican, said in a statement. “It will cost our state over $2 billion annually while directly jeopardizing the health care of our citizens. We need common sense bipartisan solutions that will stabilize markets and actually expand affordable coverage.”
Hogan said parts of the law that work need to be kept and parts that don’t work need to be improved — all in a way that protects Marylanders’ coverage and stops rates from continually skyrocketing. The governor said he supports any solution that helps reach that outcome, regardless of which side of the political aisle it comes from.
“It is time for Republicans and Democrats to come together, fix what is so clearly broken, and finally get something done for the American people,” Hogan said.
Maryland is one of 30 states that, along with the District of Columbia, expanded Medicaid under the ACA. The bill would reduce spending gaps between states that expanded Medicaid and the mostly Republican states that did not, but details on the measure’s exact effects on each state were unclear.
The bill would let states set their own coverage health requirements, allow insurers to boost premiums on people with serious medical conditions and end Obama’s mandates that most Americans buy insurance and that companies offer coverage to workers. The measure is supported by the White House and Senate leaders, but supporters are still looking for the 50 GOP votes they would need to pass the bill over solid Democratic opposition.
Senate Republicans must pass the measure by Sept. 30 to avoid a Democratic filibuster.
A bipartisan group of 10 governors, including the leader of the National Governors Association, is calling on Senate leaders to reject the bill. Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper have teamed up against the bill. The governors of Alaska, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Vermont have signed the letter. Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for Hogan, said the governor did not sign on to the letter, because he chose to put out his own statement opposing the bill.
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