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Sandoval sounds skeptical about health bill ahead of talks with Heller, Pence

Michelle Rindels
Michelle Rindels
GovernmentHealth Care

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island - Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval continued to express skepticism about a new Senate health care bill on Friday, saying "the rudimentary math" indicates it wouldn’t mitigate heavy cuts to Medicaid.

The Republican governor offered more insight into this thinking on the Senate health bill on Friday, ahead of a series of calls and meetings he’ll have on the topic with his staff, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Dean Heller, who has taken his cues from Sandoval on health legislation. Sandoval compared the bill’s proposed addition of $70 billion to stabilize health insurance exchanges against an estimated $700 billion in proposed Medicaid cuts.

“Anybody can do the rudimentary math on that,” he told reporters at the National Governors Association summer meeting in Providence, RI.

Sandoval planned to talk with his chief of staff and former health and human services chief, Mike Willden, later Friday morning to gather more information about the bill’s potential impact in Nevada. He also planned to connect with Heller, who has said he’s undecided on voting to proceed with debate on the bill, and Pence, who’s been lobbying wavering Republican senators and people close to Heller.

The governor noted that there was talk from bill defenders of moving newly eligible Medicaid recipients to the health insurance exchange and helping them with payments, but he said he needed to look more into that idea.

“It’s important for me to understand all the details and see if that’s meaningful in terms of them still having the same quality of health care that they have now,” he said. “I’m sure they’re going to come back to me and explain why they feel that those individuals that are receiving Medicaid now — those newly eligibles — won’t be harmed. And it’s my obligation to hear them out.”


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