Feb 27, 2017

Governors to Trump: Make sure no one loses health insurance

In a meeting with President Trump Monday morning, governors of both parties told the president — along with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price — they don't want their constituents to lose health coverage.

"We do not want one citizen to lose health care," Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, told reporters at a Capitol Hill briefing after the meeting. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, echoed this and added: "What i heard today made me feel good." But they didn't give any details, and a presentation given to the governors on Saturday morning analyzing the House GOP Obamacare repeal and replacement plan showed millions of people losing coverage.

Later, Sandoval said he got the impression that the Trump administration will put out a plan, and not just defer to Congress on the whole issue. "The message that we got was two to three weeks before we see some specifics," he said.

The governors spoke in vague terms about the meeting, but what to do about Medicaid expansion — and the tension between states who took it and those that didn't — did come up.

"What I heard is they want to ensure no states are penalized. Because it works both ways," Sandoval, the governor of an expansion state, said. He was referencing the GOP's particularly difficult Medicaid conundrum: States that took the expansion don't want to lose federal funding for the expansion population, while states that didn't expand say it's not fair for some states to get more Medicaid money than others.

Sandoval said his support for a per capita cap, the current leading Medicaid reform plan coming out of the House that would limit federal funding per enrollee, depends on how the cap is designed.

Why this matters: Governors' support for the GOP Obamacare repeal and replacement plan is still up in the air, as are the details of the plan itself. Republican governors' support is crucial.

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