11 governors release statement rejecting Obamacare repeal and calling for bipartisan action

A bipartisan group of governors released a statement on Tuesday rejecting President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers’ calls to repeal Obamacare without a replacement bill and urging Republicans and Democrats to work together to improve the existing healthcare law.

“The Senate should immediately reject efforts to ‘repeal’ the current system and replace sometime later,” they wrote, noting that the move “could leave millions of Americans without coverage.”

The group of governors, the majority of whom are from states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, includes five Republicans — John Kasich of Ohio, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Larry Hogan of Maryland, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, and Phil Scott of Vermont — five Democrats — Steve Bullock of Montana, John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Tom Wolfe of Pennsylvania, and Terry McAuliffe of Virginia — and one independent, Bill Walker of Alaska.

The governors argued that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle should work in a bipartisan way to lower healthcare costs and stabilise the private markets that Obamacare recipients use to purchase their health insurance, also known as the Obamacare exchanges.

“The next best step is for both parties to come together and do what we can all agree on: fix our unstable insurance markets,” they wrote, adding that governors must be “brought to the table to provide input.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, also published an op-ed in The New York Times on Tuesday calling for a bipartisan effort to shore up the marketplace before reforming Medicaid, the government health insurance program for low-income Americans.

“After two failed attempts at reform, the next step is clear: Congress should first focus on fixing the Obamacare exchanges before it takes on Medicaid,” Kasich wrote. “For all its faults, at least Medicaid is currently a stable system for those who need it. The exchanges are anything but, and need immediate improvements.”

Kasich was adamant that a solution to the country’s healthcare issues must be bipartisan in order to succeed.

“Another one-sided plan, driven hard by one party against the wishes of another, can never succeed because it will essentially maintain the status quo: partisan opposition and no real solutions,” he wrote.