GOP, Dem governors call for changes in House health bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A group of Republican and Democratic governors are echoing President Donald Trump's criticism of a House GOP health care bill, saying it threatens coverage for the most vulnerable.

Instead, they're asking Senate leaders to work together on an overhaul of Democrat Barack Obama's health care law.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, seven governors, including three moderate Republicans, argue "true and lasting reforms are best approached by finding common ground in a bipartisan fashion." The governors implore the leaders to focus on stabilizing the individual insurance markets, give states flexibility and ensure affordable cover.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter today.

The governors said they oppose the bill the House narrowly passed last month, citing its deep cuts to Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income Americans.

Republicans have said the House bill is aimed at lowering premiums and expanding consumers' insurance choices while getting rid of the mandates in "Obamacare" that require people to buy coverage. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said the House measure would raise costs for many older and lower-income people while causing 23 million people to lose insurance over a decade.

The bill "calls into question coverage for the vulnerable and fails to provide the necessary resources to ensure that no one is left out, while shifting significant costs to the states," the governors said.

During a White House meeting this week, Trump privately told Senate Republicans that the House bill was "mean." That was an extraordinary slap at legislation that Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., guided through the House and that Trump himself had championed and praised at a Rose Garden ceremony.

Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, among the letter's signers, questioned Trump's position in light of his conflicting statements.

"The president had a celebration when the bill passed. I don't know where he stands on it," said Bullock. "Where we stand is that the bill the House passed simply won't work."

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