Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, the most vulnerable Senate Republican in 2018, had a very, very bad Wednesday—downright humiliating. After getting totally bashed by state activists for his caving in to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and voting to move forward with a bill to strip health coverage away from tens of thousands of Nevadans, he decided he’d better do something—and something stupidly symbolic was all he could come up with.
That was an amendment “To express the sense of the Senate that Medicaid expansion is a priority and that Obamacare must be improved.” It was defeated 10-90. That’s just humiliating. His attempt was so obviously shallow and stupid that only 10 of his colleagues were wiling to embarrass themselves by associating with it.
Meanwhile, Heller declared he would happily back a “skinny repeal” of Obamacare as long as it left Medicaid intact. “We’ll see at the end of the day what’s
it,” he said, “but overall I think I’d support it.” Within hours, Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, to whom Heller has been glued at the hip on this bill up until now, signed onto a letter with a bipartisan group of governors blasting the skinny repeal approach.
“The Senate should also reject efforts to amend the bill into a ‘skinny repeal,’ which is expected to accelerate health plans leaving the individual market, increase premiums, and result in fewer Americans having access to coverage,” the governors wrote. “Instead, we ask senators to work with governors on solutions to problems we can all agree on: fixing our unstable insurance markets. Improvements should be based on a set of guiding principles, which include controlling costs and stabilizing the market, that will positively impact the coverage and care of millions of Americans, including many who are dealing with mental illness, chronic health problems, and drug addiction.”
The other letter signers are Colorado’s John Hickenlooper, Montana’s Steve Bullock, Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, Louisiana’s John Bel Edwards, and Virginia’s Terry McAuliffe for the Democrats, and Maryland’s Larry Hogan, Massachusetts’ Charlie Baker, Ohio’s John Kasich, and Vermont’s Phil Scott.
Damn, that makes skinny repeal look really awful for a lot of states—and for any senator who votes for it from one of those states, cough, Dean Heller. It’s going to take one hell of a bribe for the state of Nevada to make them forget about what he seems about ready to do.
JAM THE PHONE LINES. Call your Senator at (202) 224-3121 and tell them repealing Obamacare is SICK, MEAN and CRUEL. (After you call, please tell us how it went.)