Back in January VPR reported Phil Scott made some public noises about working with what he calls moderate GOP Governors to help maintain health care in the face of Trump and the Republican efforts to repeal (gut) the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka ObamaCare) and Medicaid. He was reported to have joined in conversations with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts about ways to work with the Trump administration.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) legislation that would gut the ACA was passed in the House; now it is being negotiated in secret talks in the Senate — and Trump’s budget proposal is threatening Medicaid. But Gov. Scott’s name was inexplicably missing from a recent letter sent to Senate leaders this week by governors expressing concerns about affordable health coverage.
A group of Democratic and Republican governors wrote Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urging that efforts to improve the health care system be bipartisan in nature while reiterating their concerns with the House Obamacare repeal legislation, the American Health Care Act.
Democratic Governors John Bel Edwards (LA), John Hickenlooper (CO) Steve Bullock (MT) and Tom Wolf (PA) signed the letter along with three Republicans: Govs John Kasich (OH), Charlie Baker (MA) and Brian Sandoval (NV).
The Hill.com reports the letter to Majority Leader McConnell in part says: While we certainly agree that reforms need to be made to our nation’s health care system, as Governors from both sides of the political aisle, we feel that true and lasting reforms are best approached by finding common ground in a bipartisan fashion,” the governors said.
The governors are particularly concerned about the bill’s Medicaid provisions. All of governors who signed the letter are from states that expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare, but the Republican bill in both chambers is set to end the federal funding for that expansion.
This seems like just the kind of act — a simple bi-partisan effort — he might have signed on to. Neighboring Massachusetts GOP Gov. Baker joined in, and Gov. Kasich, whom Scott supported for President, also signed the letter to Senator McConnell.
Maybe signing on to the multi-state Climate Change Alliance (under pressure) fulfilled his monthly quota for bi-partisanship. But he’s a busy man meeting a host of challenges — facing a possible state government shutdown with down-to-the-wire state budget veto negotiations — and, of course, he’s somehow finding time to race his car.