Governors gather amid uncertainty on future of Obama health law

As the nation’s Governors assemble in Washington, D.C. this weekend for their annual winter meeting, not all Republicans are united behind a big drive in the Congress to repeal the Obama health law, as some in the GOP are worried about what would change with Medicaid and the coverage provided to millions of low income Americans.

“I’m very optimistic that the President heard my concerns about the Affordable Care Act,” said Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), who went a day early to D.C. to meet with President Trump at the White House and raise issues about efforts to repeal and replace the Obama health law.

Kasich brought with him a plan backed by a half dozen other Republican Governors, who are worried that the GOP Congress and Mr. Trump may move to shift the costs of Medicaid health programs on to the states, making it difficult to provide coverage for those who can’t afford it.

“If they do something that I think is wrong, I’m going to speak out,” said Kasich, who earned the ire of Mr. Trump and many other Republicans during the GOP primaries in 2016.

“I’m very glad that I’ve been able to make my point on this whole business of Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act,” Kasich said after his meeting with the President.

“If it upsets Republicans in the Congress, I mean, that’s life,” Kasich told reporters.

Kasich’s home state of Ohio is one of the handful of Republican-led states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the Obama health law; his plan would put the states in charge of that program, but leave the feds paying most of the costs.

But early indications from Capitol Hill are that won’t float with the GOP Congress, as early plans would limit federal funds offered to states for Medicaid coverage.

As for Democrats, they were already slicing and dicing press reports about what the GOP wants to do with the Obama health law.

“Let me count thy ways that the leaked GOP ACA repeal plan will totally, completely, monumentally screw you,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), as it seems unlikely right now that Democrats will vote with the GOP on almost anything related to health care.

That means the GOP will have to keep Republicans on board in the Congress to insure their plans get approved.

And that means they may need people like Kasich on board, to help.

“I don’t care what the Republicans do on this; if they do something that I think is wrong, I’m going to speak out,” Kasich said.

Republicans in the House and Senate are still putting their repeal and replace plans together; it’s still not clear when legislation will be made public, or when a vote will take place.

Speaker Paul Ryan has said he wants votes by the end of March.

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