Hours after the U.S. Senate cast another round of health care votes, including one on Senator Dean Heller’s (R) amendment, three Clark County Commissioners joined local health care advocates outside the UMC Trauma Center. They urged Heller one more time to vote down any bill that would result in Nevadans losing health insurance.

The lives on the line

While at UMC, we spoke with two Nevadans whose lives have been changed by Obamacare (aka the Affordable Care Act, or ACA).
Laura Packard is now battling stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The Las Vegas small business owner had previously bought health insurance in the ACA exchange. And thanks to the ACA’s insurance rules, Packard continues to have insurance that actually covers the cost of chemotherapy and other needed medical care. Packard fears that even the “skinny repeal” version of Trumpcare that just removes the insurance mandates will result in her insurance costs skyrocketing. (The Congressional Budget Office released a report last night stating “skinny repeal” would result in 16 million more Americans uninsured and a roughly 20% increase in premiums.)


Photo by Andrew Davey

Karina Provost’s mother had to file for bankruptcy when she fell ill. Her family continues to struggle with the $1.8 million in medical bills. Provost’s mother finally found a lifeline when she signed up for Medicaid. Provost pointed out that despite the Senate’s votes to reject Trumpcare proposals with Medicaid cuts this week, even a Senate vote for “skinny repeal” allows House Republicans to reinsert these Medicaid cuts when they go into conference with Senate Republicans.

“Obamacare is what’s keeping me alive. […] Insurance is very important to me.”
– Laura Packard

Packard and Provost joined Clark County Commissioners Lawrence Weekly (D), Steve Sisolak (D), and Chris Giunchigliani (D), UMC CEO Mason VonHouweling, and other local health care activists outside UMC Trauma Center to demand Senator Dean Heller reject Trumpcare once and for all.

Photo by Andrew Davey

Giunchigliani noted the role Medicaid expansion has played in saving UMC from financial ruin as she called on Senator Heller to stop Trumpcare. “Getting rid of this expansion is inappropriate and unacceptable, and we will hold people accountable.”

Clark County Commissioners Chris Giunchigliani, Lawrence Weekly, and Steve Sisolak join Nevada health care advocates to urge U.S. Senator Dean Heller to oppose Trumpcare.

Posted by Nevada Forward on Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sisolak and Weekly agreed. Weekly later promised Nevadans will hold Heller accountable for his votes. “When you finish, you have to come home, and we’ll be right here waiting for you.”

“Obamacare works for Nevada. Repealing it would be devastating.”
– Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak

Despite stating he would vote against a motion to proceed with Trumpcare in June, Heller voted for that very motion on Tuesday. Yesterday, Heller joined a majority of his fellow Senators in defeating two versions of Trumpcare: the Better Care Reconciliation Act (lost 43-57), and the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (lost 45-55).
Heller suggested yesterday morning he could vote for “skinny repeal”. But hours later, Governor Brian Sandoval (R) signed onto a letter with a bipartisan coalition of nine other Governors asking the Senate to reject “skinny repeal” along with all other versions of Trumpcare. Meanwhile, Senate Republican leaders may place one year of defunding Planned Parenthood health care services back into their “skinny repeal” plan. Today will likely feature a series of “test votes” for leaders to determine if any kind of Trumpcare bill can pass the Senate.
Earlier today, Heller signed onto an amendment with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) to convert federal ACA funding for states from a need-based to block-grant program. At the time of publication, it’s still unclear whether Republicans have the votes for a final Trumpcare bill.