By Jeff Stein
Nevada’s Republican governor is laying into President Donald Trump for scrapping a key provision of Obamacare.
A consistent critic of the Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Gov. Brian Sandoval was unsparing in detailing the consequences of the White House’s decision to eliminate Cost Sharing Reductions — key payments that allow health insurers to better afford coverage for the sick and keep premiums lower.
“It’s going to hurt people. It’s going to hurt kids. It’s going to hurt families. It’s going to hurt individuals. It’s going to hurt people with mental health issues. It’s going to hurt veterans. It’s going to hurt everybody,” Sandoval told the Nevada Independent on Friday. “And so this is something that I’ve been very supportive during my administration in terms of expanding health care and making sure that people have access to affordable health care and I’m going to continue on that path.”
Sandoval was the first Republican governor to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, and he emerged as one of the most important roadblocks in the Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare. (Vox’s Dylan Scott called him “the most important person in the Senate health care debate.”) His role was particularly consequential because Dean Heller, his state’s Republican senator, openly waffled on whether or not he would support the GOP replace bill — in large part because of Sandoval’s opposition. (Heller wound up voting for one of the bills to repeal Obamacare, though he voted against the two most extreme versions.)
But Sandoval’s position may continue to have important impacts on the health care debate. While Trump unilaterally rescinded the CSR’s with a swipe of the executive pen, Senate Republicans will be under pressure from Democrats and activists to enshrine the CSR payments into law over Trump’s objections. Sandoval is leaving no doubt where he thinks his state’s Republican senator should stand.
“This is going to make it much more difficult for those people out in the rural counties and in the urban areas to be able to obtain affordable insurance,” he told the Nevada Independent. “So this is something I don’t support; I think that this has been very good for Nevada; and I think the administration should keep providing those subsidies.”
Sandoval also told the Nevada Independent that governors across multiple states are considering “rallying together” to find a solution to the CSR change.