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Dean Heller Announces Opposition to Senate Trumpcare Bill Alongside Brian Sandoval

Today in Governor Brian Sandoval’s (R) Las Vegas office, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R) gave the answer Nevadans have been awaiting for nearly three months: No, he will not vote for Trumpcare as written. As he stood by Sandoval, Heller finally took a firm stand on the controversial bill.

Senator Heller stood alongside Governor Sandoval in what was originally billed as a press conference to “discuss Medicaid”. Heller used the opportunity to announce his opposition to the overall Trumpcare bill that his fellow Senate Republicans unveiled yesterday.

Sandoval spoke first, and stated that “things need to change” in order for him to support any bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He specifically cited the $480 million worth of Medicaid costs the Better Care Reconciliation Act passes onto the State of Nevada. “That’s a cost the state can not sustain.” The Senate’s Trumpcare bill ends Medicaid expansion by 2024, then makes additional cuts to the program beginning in 2025.

Watch Governor Sandoval and Senator Heller speak on their shared opposition to the Senate Trumpcare bill.

Governor Brian Sandoval and Senator Dean Heller hold a joint press conference on the Senate #Trumpcare bill

Posted by Nevada Forward on Friday, June 23, 2017

Heller later agreed with Sandoval that the Senate bill’s Medicaid cuts go too far. “This bill… Is not the answer. It is simply not the answer.” Heller had previously expressed support for the seven-year phase out of Medicaid expansion, but moved far away from that stance today in citing the roughly 200,000 Nevadans who depend on Medicaid.

“This bill will mean a loss of coverage for millions of Americans and many Nevadans.”
– Senator Dean Heller

When asked about Planned Parenthood health care funding, Heller continued to equivocate. Heller replied, “I do not have beef with Planned Parenthood,” even though he’s previously voted against funding Planned Parenthood health care services. Heller then said he only opposes federal funds for organizations that perform abortions. (The Hyde Amendment already bans federal funding for abortions.)

As Sandoval and Heller left the room, Governor Sandoval’s Chief of Staff, Mike Willden, stayed to answer more questions. Willden declined to speak any further on Planned Parenthood funding, but he explained the other reasons why Sandoval opposes Trumpcare, such as eligibility for ACA coverage, consumer tax credits for insurance coverage, and loss of tax revenue the state depends upon to fund various health care services.

Watch Mike Willden answer more questions on Trumpcare.

Mike Willden answers more questions on Trumpcare bill

Posted by Nevada Forward on Friday, June 23, 2017

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has previously said he wanted a vote on Trumpcare by July 4. McConnell’s timeline was already in doubt yesterday, when six other Republican Senators voiced deep concerns with the bill. Heller’s opposition to Trumpcare further jeopardizes the future of Donald Trump’s goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act this year.

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