Arizona Governor Backs O’care Repeal, Likely Securing McCain’s And Flake’s Votes

Matt York/AP
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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) officially endorsed the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill Monday that would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act and convert Medicaid and Obamacare subsidy funding into block grants controlled by the states.

Calling the bill the “best path forward,” Ducey instructed Congress to “get the job done” in the next 12 days, before the clock runs out on Republicans’ ability to pass the bill with only 50 votes instead of the usual 60.

Ducey’s support will likely ensure the backing of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), whose no vote defeated the GOP’s previous attempt to repeal the ACA, and who has been publicly conflicted about the new repeal bill. In recent interviews, McCain has both criticized Republicans for rushing a partisan bill through Congress and said he would likely support it with his governor’s permission.

Earlier on Monday, Arizona’s junior Republican senator, Jeff Flake, who faces a tough reelection fight next year, jumped on board the bandwagon.

According to an analysis by the progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Arizona would lose as much as $1.6 billion in federal health care funding if the bill is signed into law. States like Arizona that expanded Medicaid would be hit harder and sooner, as the plan would completely eliminate Obamacare’s 90 percent federal match for the Medicaid expansion starting in 2020.

McCain and Flake’s support brings Republicans closer to the 50-vote threshold they need to ram the bill through (with Republican Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie), but several GOP senators are either undecided or openly hostile to the proposal.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.
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