INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has joined 14 other Republican governors in backing a last-ditch GOP effort to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
The governors sent a letter Tuesday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, writing that they “appreciate” the bill by GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham.
“We call on the members of the United States Senate to move quickly to repeal Obamacare and replace it,” they wrote.
Most states would take a stiff budgetary hit if the latest Senate health care bill becomes law, according to an independent analysis released Wednesday. In Indiana, that would result in a federal funding cut that could make people lose coverage or wind up paying more, Democratic Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly said Wednesday.
The independent study by the consulting firm Avalere Health found the Graham-Cassidy bill would lead to an overall cut in Indiana of $7 billion between 2020 and 2027.
The state currently relies on Obama’s law, known as the Affordable Care Act, for the vast majority of funding for the Healthy Indiana Plan, which is often referred to as HIP 2.0.
HIP 2.0 was developed by Vice President and former Gov. Mike Pence to capitalize on money made available through the ACA. It currently insures more than 400,000 low-income people in the state.
“The Graham-Cassidy proposal, like previous partisan efforts to repeal the health care law, would harm Hoosiers — forcing people to lose coverage, raising health care costs for seniors, ending the bipartisan HIP 2.0 program as we know it,” Donnelly said.
The Senate Republican proposal calls for replacing current funding with federal block grants, which would end after 2026 unless they are renewed.
“Adequately funded block grants to the states, along with maximum flexibility and control, is the best option on the table,” the governors wrote. “We appreciate the work of Senators Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Dean Heller, and Ron Johnson to draft language that embraces this simple, yet profound concept.”
The latest push to repeal Obama’s law is the third major attempt by Republicans to make good on a campaign promise that helped them rise to power. But thus far, they have been unsuccessful amid widespread pushback from Democrats, hospital groups and advocates for the elderly.
Senate Republicans must act on their proposal by Sept. 30 or face a potential Democratic filibuster. That’s because current budget rules, which will expire at the end of the month, allow them to pass the bill with a majority, rather than the 60 votes they will need later. Republicans currently hold 52 seats in the chamber.